Tag Archives: photography

Arachnification

This post is something new for me, a photo essay of sorts. I am a rank (as in stinky) amateur when it comes to photography, so don’t go in with high expectations. I do welcome feedback and suggestions, though.

October being my birth month and me being such an arachnophile, I often get spider-themed stuff for my birthday.

birthday This adorable spider balloon, with her fabulous dreds and winsome smile, is floating in my kitchen as I write this, making me giggle every time I see her. The flowers are still going strong, too. The box of cupcakes, barely visible behind the vase, is gone, however.

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(Don’t worry; I didn’t eat them all myself. I shared them with the rest of the family. Really, people!)

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I also received TWO sets of spider-themed outdoor lights: a light-up spider web and a string of brightly colored spiders (very much like the spiders in a dream I posted about a while back).

The colored spiders are glittery, so they glow even during the day when they aren’t lit.

Not shown is the giant paper spider protectively hovering over her brood of a dozen smaller paper spiders in the foyer. Her 12-foot crepe paper legs span the entire space. (I tried photographing her from several angles without good result.) When my sister asked if I had had a happy birthday, I replied with glee that I had spent the afternoon arachnifying the house.

But all this is merely a cheap and tacky prelude to the true artistry of Mother Nature, as revealed in this morning’s fog:

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My home has been well and truly arachnified.

Linden love (with locust)

Sunday I stopped at a branch library on the other side of town, one I don’t usually frequent. The outside temperature was in the 90s; as I opened the car door, the air was almost a living presence: thick with humidity and heavy with perfume. I was expecting the heat, but the perfume caught me by surprise. It was sweet and sticky, and I recognized it immediately: linden flowers. The library parking lot was surrounded by linden trees, all of them in full bloom.

I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, the sweltering heat forgotten. The air vibrated with the inebriated buzzing of hundreds of bees as they staggered from flower to flower. I closed the door, rolled down the windows, and just sat there, adrift in scent and sound. A light breeze rustled the leaves and actually felt cool as it fanned past me.

Bees and linden flowers (photo by Ken Broadhurst)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eventually, the slamming of a car door reminded me where I was and my purpose for being there. Unhurried, I checked the time and was surprised to realize I had to leave, my errand undone. I didn’t mind in the slightest, though.

Twenty-five years ago, I lived in downtown Indianapolis and walked to work. At that time, many of the streets were planted with linden trees, and I remember the dizzy sensation of walking to and from work when they were in bloom. So distracted and transported was I by the heady fragrance of those blossoms that it’s a miracle I didn’t walk into traffic and get myself killed.

Certain flowers and their fragrances have always had that effect on me. When the black locust trees are in bloom around here, I am truly a navigational menace on foot. I keep my car windows up because I fear I’ll go off the road following my nose if the breeze carries that powerful perfume my way. Black locust are very tall, so their sweet aroma carries for quite a distance, with or without a breeze.

Linden and black locust trees are both native to the region where I grew up and where several generations of my people lived and died. Maybe the scent of those blossoms stirs some deep, ancestral memory. Or maybe, as some have suggested, I was actually a bee in a previous life.

Bzzzzzzzz.

Special thanks to Ken Broadhurst of Living the Life in Saint-Aignan, who let me use his wonderful photo of bees and linden blossoms. He wrote a lovely post about the linden behind his house, with lots more photos. His blog is full of beautiful photography and stories that make you want to move to France — and don’t forget to check out his post about making dolmas using leaves from his own backyard vines!

Carl Sagan visits my blog!

There are — AS I WRITE THIS — millions, no wait, billions and billions (thanks, Dr. Sagan!) of starlings in my neighborhood. Every roof and tree is covered with them, and the sky is a constant swirl of stubby-winged black silhouettes. I would go outside and take a video, but the chances of being shat upon are exponentially greater than normal.

 

You’ll just have to take my word for it, somewhat substantiated by these feeble photos I was able to shoot through the skylight and various windows. (The birds are moving around A LOT so the still photos don’t really do them justice. Besides, the light is all wrong and there’s bird do on the skylight. Bleh.)

The cats are on overload: the older, calmer 0ne, having commandeered the window seat in my bedroom, has decided to squinch up her eyes and just listen to the cacophany; the younger, more hyper one is crouched beneath the skylight in my bathroom, eyes big as saucers, intent on the chaos wheeling overhead. The skittering of tiny bird claws on the skylight and the gutters is about to drive her bonkers. (A very short trip, as she is more than halfway there all the time anyway.)

I just had to share. My apologies to those who are a bit squeamish about this many birds all in one place.