"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Spring 2020: April Colors 3 (Purple and Yellow (and Yellow and Purple))

Spring 2020: April Colors 3 (Purple and Yellow (and Yellow and Purple))

From Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology by David Abram:

“To exist as a body is to be constrained from being everything, and so to be exposed and susceptible to all that is not oneself — able to be tripped up at any moment by the inscrutability of a pattern one cannot fathom….

“Whether sustained by a desire for spiritual transcendence or by the contrary wish for technological control and mastery, most of our contemporary convictions carefully shirk and shy away from the way the biosphere is directly experienced from our creaturely position in the thick of its unfolding. They deflect our attention away from a mystery that gleams and glints in the depths of the sensuous world itself, shining forth from within each presence that we see or hear or touch. They divert us from a felt sense that this wild-flowering earth is the primary source of itself, the very wellspring of its own ongoing regenesis. From a recognition that nature … is self-born…. And hence that matter is not just created but also creative, not a passive blend of chance happenings and mechanically determined events, but an unfolding creativity ever coming into being, ever bringing itself forth….”

From “In the Ground of Our Unknowing” by David Abram in Emergence Magazine:

“[While] this plague enforces a temporary distance from other humans, there is no reason not to lean in close to other beings, gazing and learning — for instance — the distinguishing patterns of the bark worn by each of the local tree species where you live. No reason not to step outside and pry open your ears, listening and learning by heart the characteristic songs and calls of the various local birds; no reason not to apprentice yourself to a spider as it weaves its intricate web in front of the porchlight. Or to practice recognizing and naming — as I have been — the different types of clouds that are conjured out of the blue by the scattered mountains in this region, the wispy brushstrokes and phantom ridges and clumped clusters that congregate and dissipate in the high desert sky….

“Estranged from direct human contact for a brief while, we’ve a chance to open a new intimacy with the wider world we’re a part of, with coyote and owl and aspen. Soon enough, if it’s not already happening where you are, spring will be exploding out of all those budded branches. And that is a goodness.”

The first quotation above is from one of my favorite books by David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. It’s one of those books that shows how much meaning can be embedded in a few words; and while it’s written in a sometimes obtuse, slightly meandering style, every paragraph comes back to the book’s central themes about our relationship with nature, and how our connections with the natural world are critical to our existence as human beings — especially as creative beings for whom nature can be a source of inspiration and sensuous experience. You might read the quote more than once, to be rewarded by the challenge of absorbing it.

The second quotation popped into my inbox just yesterday, from my email subscription to Emergence Magazine — a recently launched web periodical that combines excellent writing and fascinating imagery to explore ecology, culture, science, and creativity. The article In the Ground of Our Unknowing, also by David Abram, prompts readers to extend their exploration of the natural world in these disconcerting times, to better understand our human world. Definitely worth reading, if these ideas interest you.

I still have a few dozen photos to process and upload from trips to Oakland Cemetery’s gardens earlier this year, and below are four galleries from one of those trips. The first gallery shows a variety of plum tree, from which I removed all the yellow, orange, and green colors — mostly in the background — leaving only colors in the blooms to create this monochromatic look.

The second gallery shows a Japanese Kerria, a reedy shrub that produces clumps of long, thin branches that like to wave at you in a spring breeze. The tulip in the third gallery is likely either a Wild Tulip or Lady Tulip (or a Wild Lady Tulip … nah!) and in the last two of the four photos a tiny nectar-drinking bee hovered just long enough for me to take it’s picture. The final gallery is of course of an iris, one of the earliest blooms I found, though it’s difficult to identify the specific variation since I didn’t buy it myself and keep the little plant tag. 🙂

The previous posts in my April Color series are:

Spring 2020: April Colors 2 (Catawba Grapevine); and

Spring 2020: April Colors 1.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!


    1. Dale

      Just a few irises in April; if they come up too soon, we might have some cool nights kill them off until May. These early bloomers were in morning sun near a stone wall; the extra light and heat must have given them a boost. Heading back this week to see if there are any more, though it may be a couple weeks yet before they bust out all over.

  1. Beautiful blooms in every shot. I was thinking, looking at the shot with the blooms and bug against a black background, the bug probably thinks of it that way – – just flying through a black void, until you get to the meaningful stuff, a flower & pollen.

    1. Dale

      Thank you! You’re probably right about the bug and bright colors. I was wearing a yellow t-shirt and black jacket that morning, and it kept dive-bombing my shirt! It thought I was a meaningful field of flowers, I guess… 🙂

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