Jan 022017
 

A spring pool along the Santa Fe River in north-central Florida holds the blue of sky and the green of water plants.

In Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, it is another in a string of gray days of intermittent rain, drizzle, and fog.  My sunroom (not quite an apt name) is flooded again; it was built on the original concrete slab patio of the house, and has considerable issues with drainage.  I find solace in knowing that our drought of many months may indeed be at an end.

Meanwhile, on screen, I find a delight in returning to this blog, like meeting up with a long-lost friend and picking up where I had left off.  I have photos a-plenty to bide my time these next couple of months, until I leave for Australia.  On less foreboding days, I hope to make a few ventures into the woods.  I still walk Piney Woods Church Road, though now once again it is nearly always with dogs in tow.  Since two years ago, my days have been eroded, my precious moments lost to additional teaching responsibilities (not necessarily unpleasant, but frequent and insistent).  This year, I will strive to reclaim them; I have embarked on an eight-week course of mindfulness meditation, I have two daily readers for pondering (more about them in a future post), and of course there is the time I will devote (apt word, that) to daily entries here.

Meanwhile, I share with you this photograph from along the Santa Fe River, near Fort White, Florida, from early December, 2016.  A side-channel of the river led to this spring-fed pool, where aquatic plants flourished.  The blend of blues and greens brought longed-for color to the grays and browns of the winter woods.

Dec 272014
 

From early this afternoon, while the sun still peaked through thickening clouds, I offer this lone image.  It is a different take on all of my tendril photos of late.  Rather than being a study of a single coil or pattern, it explores the act of coiling itself.  I find my eyes drawn all around this image, following the curving paths of the muscadine.

 

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Dec 212014
 

Day 355, and I pause to acknowledge the Winter Solstice.  I had planned to begin my project on this very day in 2013, but ended up postponing it to begin instead with the first of the year.  Having nearly completed my round of the seasons, I appreciate the arbitrary nature of our Western calendar, and am delighted to say that my next project (more about that on January 1st) will begin with the Spring Equinox of 2015, rather than the start of a particular month.  This is the shortest day, and as I type this, it has already grown dark though not yet 6 pm Eastern Time.  Tomorrow, the days will grow longer once again. On the occasion of this turning of the year, I offer these two images of turning tendrils, taken on today’s ramble through the dreary gray along Piney Woods Church Road.

 

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Dec 202014
 

Some much-welcomed rain showers arrived overnight, and the air felt moist and full of promise as I set out on my afternoon exploration of Piney Woods Church Road today.  The water that had covered the leaves and branches of the roadside plants had mostly dried up, except for individual tiny droplets lingering on the tips of a loblolly pine sapling.  I had tried photographing them before, with little success.  Today’s efforts were rewarded by the photograph below.

 

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Dec 182014
 

As winter approaches and the Piney Woods Church Road landscape becomes more sere and barren, I begin to notice the naked branches of the trees and bare tendrils of the vines so much more.  Today I found yet another enticing tendril image, a flourish of woody muscadine on a cold and cloudy mid-December afternoon.

 

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Dec 142014
 

On my early afternoon walk down Piney Woods Church Road today, my attention was drawn to a fascinating relationship between a shrub of some kind and an adjacent muscadine.  A woody tendril of the vine cradled a single leaf from the shrub, holding it in place.  How did this happen?  Did the tendrils turn first, to wrap around some long-gone form, and then the leaf just happened to be blown into a vine’s embrace?  Or did the tendrils somehow develop around the leaf, pinning it motionless?  Equally mysterious is how I managed to walk past it for weeks, or even months, never noticing it before today.

 

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Dec 132014
 

I supposed my eyes were trained to seek out patches of green and red in juxtaposition along Piney Woods Church Road, after I stopped to photograph a brilliant red ribbon and bit of artificial pine that festooned a roadside mailbox.  I actually took a number of photographs of that ribbon, covered in several places with newly-fallen brown leaves.  Still, I find this later, and much more natural, bit of red and green far more enticing:  a single dark green blade of grass stands next to a tiny sweetgum sapling with bright red leaves.  The image forms a natural holiday tableau, equally fitting for Christmas or the Winter Solstice.

 

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Dec 112014
 

Whenever I am in need of new inspiration, I seek out the muscadine vines along Piney Woods Church Road.  The leaves and tendrils offer endless possibilities.  Here are two images from this afternoon’s walk.

 

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