Tuesday, April 12, 2011

in the garden of good and evil


I had to go twice to the magnolia grove at the brooklyn botanical garden this past week, for several reasons not worth mentioning. Once with my camera once without.


Both days were gloomy - cold, loamy types of spring days. Been lots of talk around these parts about spring not springing this year. I snicker; this is my kind of spring. The kind of spring that takes the time to do it right. This is a cold spring that slowy unfurls and demands distinct attention HARK! the latency of nature's majesty revealed in languid tones. A metronome. A distant GONG! reverberating with the slow swelling we know so well from time lapse nature films. Something is happening.


70 degree days - STAY AWAY!

I figure it's time well taken, and there is a lesson in all this for me. I can learn to appreciate slow things, things that progress with pace. Another drizzly 50 degree day is another day we get to observe the phenomenon. Like doctors behind glass in an theatre, as city-dwellers we tend to observe spring with cannon's and macro lenses at the helm.


It pained me, but I left my camera home the second time around to the magnolia grove. I didn't want to miss seeing the spectacle with my own eyes. We tend to always want to capture nature. Bag it! Blog it! Make a souvenir of it, make it our own...

But a funny thing I've come to realize about nature is that you can't always take it with you.


Miriam said...

I love this kind of spring, too. It's been a little warmer here in DC, but today reminded me of this William Carlos Williams poem. It's commonly called "Spring and All" but that's really the title of the book it comes from.


By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

liz said...

yes to the snip, snip, snap away without actually getting the chance to enjoy and see through to the broader frame, bigger picture.

we're 92F here in Austin and it's barely April. I'd take some grey.

bowstreetflowers said...

How I dread the ninety degree day that always comes in April. It completely ruins the slow opening of Spring. Love your photos, Sarah.

Djamila said...

there is value in looking through the lens, and in looking with the naked eye. two very different visions.

thank you for the inspiration...

Cornucopia said...

well put.

Le Loup said...

so beautifully captured. thank you for sharing these gorgeous images. we love your work!

fleur_delicious said...

I'm with you. The pain of graduate school has been 20-credit courseloads and teaching on top every winter quarter. I love the lean slow stirrings of january and february, makes me miss the fields back home in western Oregon. That time of year it's just shoots of delicate green and mostly the lean withered stalks, memories of last year, amid mud and bare branches. I like having time to watch the moss grow on the bark, feel the balance tip s-l-o-w-l-y toward summer. No headlong plunge needed. Spring is at her best when she is cold, chaste, aloof; against those stormy threatening skies her blossoms glow with a subtle seduction that is flattened and lost in bright sun.

it's been a slow languid start here on the west coast, too - snow in the rain last week. While I shake my fist because my stock is trying ot germinate, already, and so are my scented sweet peas, dangit ... I'll take a lowering sky until May with nary a complaint. =)

robyn said...

hear hear

Jo said...

This is the most beautifully written post. You are right. I love warm weather as soon as it will get here. But down here in NC, it always gets warm and the flowers unfurl. And then the weather dips again and kills all the delicate blooms. It's sad. I watched the prettiest pink magnolia tree go from royal splendor to a shivering brown mess last week. It made my heart hurt.

Amy Helfand said...

lovely, Sarah. and thank you, Miriam, for the Williams poem.

Lisa said...

So well put. And photographed, as always.

Sara Lacey said...

My exercise this year is to not try to record everything. To be at ease with letting my brain record it and not my camera.

How much do you experience something through a lens?

Sometimes a camera heightens an experience, and sometimes a camera takes away from it.

Anonymous said...

these photos of the Magnolias are soooo beautiful. Alas, LA doesn't have anything like it.

valerie said...

that warm one we had the other day really bummed us out. for the first time in maybe forever, i actually do not want summer to come. if only spring could unfurl forever!

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Danielle | Studio Fleurette said...

Well said! Great post--I love reading about spring on the east coast. It is still dull here in Wisconsin.

sarah said...

i love all of these words.

AG said...

I'm not sure which I prefer, your post or all of the flowers-to-india spam about mother's day in the comments!

Yossy said...

moody photos and insightful words. just right.

Claire said...

Aaaaaah Sarah. Those mags are RIDICULOUS.

fallsflowers said...

Thanks for this one, Sarah. I keep trying to tell my people this, but all they want are the 80 degree days that come around and blast all the beauty away. I'll take the grey April days anytime. Philly love to you!

Briar said...

This is just too exquisite! It has been a real spring, which i appreciate as well. I asked the old Romanian flower man at Union Square how he was feeling this morning, as I bought some fragrant pheasant's eye narcissus. He told me that he's lately been reconsidering how he answers this question, and he's realized that he's actually always elated, just to be alive. It was a perfect moment.

Sydney said...

Ahhh I love Spring!!!