August Days

August 23, 2013

“Nature has, for the most part, lost her delicate tints in August. . . . The spirit of Nature has grown bold and aggressive; it is rank and coarse; she flaunts her weeds in our faces.”
— John Burroughs, “August Days”

Dried ferns

Dried ferns

“August days are for the most part tranquil days; the fret and hurry of the season are over.  We are on the threshold of autumn.  Nature dreams and meditates; her veins no longer thrill with the eager, frenzied sap; she ripens and hardens her growths; she concentrates; she begins to make ready for winter.”
— John Burroughs, “Autumn Days”

We’ve had a drier-than-normal summer so far, so things are definitely weedy and seedy around here.  Here are some images from a recent walk about my neighborhood:

Dried fern

Dried fern

Bindweed

Bindweed

Is this yarrow?

Is this yarrow?

Seed heads

Seed heads

Rose hips

Rose hips

Watercolor sketch of rose hips

Watercolor sketch of rose hips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blue hydrangea petals

Blue hydrangea petals

I set out on a recent neighborhood walk to photograph a color wheel in the hues of a Seattle summer day.

Green acorns amidst green oak leaves

Green acorns amidst green oak leaves

Yellow -- floral suns in a blue sky

Yellow — floral suns in a blue sky

Orange signals summer road construction projects

Orange signals summer road construction projects

Red flowers in a hanging basket in the shade of a porch

Red flowers in a hanging basket in the shade of a porch

Violet clematis

Violet clematis

And back to blue -- the cloudless skies of a midsummer day

And back to blue — the cloudless skies of a midsummer day

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daisy as Crone

August 5, 2013

“But an August daisy is a sorry affair; it is little more than an empty, or partly empty seed-vessel.”
— John Burroughs, from “August Days,”  The Writings of John Burroughs, XI, Far and Near

Daisies in August

Daisies in August

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“In the Northern States the daisy is in her girlhood and maidenhood in June, she becomes very matronly in July, — fat, faded, prosaic, — and by or before August she is practically defunct.  I recall no flower whose career is more typical of the life . . .  How positively girlish . . .  is the daisy during the first few days of its blooming, while its snow-white rays yet stand straight up and shield its tender centre somewhat as a hood shields a girl’s face!  Presently it becomes a perfect disk and bares its face to the sun; this is the stage of its young womanhood.  Then its yellow centre — its body — begins to swell and become gross, the rays slowly turn brown, and finally wither up and drop. It is a flower no longer . . .”
— John Burroughs, from “August Days,”  The Writings of John Burroughs, XI, Far and Near

Well, isn’t this a dire look at growing old!!  Gross and withered.  Oh well.  I hope to retain just a bit of humor about the natural process of ageing.  I like this description by Margaret Drabble in The Pattern in the Carpet:  A Personal History with Jigsaws:  “A waistless stoutness lay in wait for all of us.”

Gardens in August

August 20, 2010

Here’s what I am seeing in my neighbors’ August gardens:

Orange sneezeweed in the morning light

Daisies against the blue sky

Globe thistle

Pods of poppies

Poppy pod