Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Tree-Following—the Chosen One

Actually two.

I’ve chosen a tree to follow, actually two—a pair growing next to the building that houses the Department of Visual & Literary Arts at the University of Wyoming. They were planted on the order of seven years ago according to an art professor (medium oil) whom I met during my recent visit.

What kind of trees are they? I don’t know. It will be fun to figure this out as leaves, flowers and fruit appear.
They're small trees, with sturdy trunks and limbs, intricately branched canopies, and attractive mottled bark. I suppose they're an ornamental cultivar.
In keeping with the style of older buildings on campus, the wall behind the trees is covered with sandstone. These aren’t full blocks. They might be split-face stones fabricated from quarried pieces  except that there’s a suspicious uniformity about them.
Another mystery.
The art building offers opportunities for photography in the abstract, which I enjoy. It encourages creativity and concentration … compose, shoot, compose, shoot … pretty soon the rest of the world disappears.
Probably the inhabitants of this building won’t think it odd that I visit these trees monthly, photographing them and their surroundings from various heights and angles. Maybe they will think I’m just another art student.
In a shady corner behind the trees, I found a castle! Do fairies live here? This time of year it’s hard to say. Probably they go south for the winter. Or do Wyoming fairies hibernate? Maybe they’re cold-tolerant … so much to learn!

We tree-followers visit our chosen subject once a month, and share news, photos and thoughts at virtual gatherings kindly hosted by The Squirrelbasket. More information here, including how to join in the fun.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Where does the dust come from?

all we are is dust in the wind… By Laszlo Bartha, CC BY 2.0.

Sometimes we find wisdom in dust. As metaphor, it hints at how we might best live. Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind. Dust returns to the earth as it was. Ahhh  make the most of what we yet may spend, before we too into the dust descend; dust into dust, and under dust, to lie sans wine, sans song, sans singer, and  sans End! (1)

But this time of year it can be hard to appreciate the philosophical side of dust. The wind blows and blows and blows, the snow melts exposing bare soil, and dust takes to the air—landing on windshields, in eyes, up the nose, and throughout the house. So I felt fortunate to stumble upon a short tale that turns this annoyance into something a bit magical.

From Where does the dust come from? by Ermilo Abreu Gómez (2):
The dust that sticks on the windows, on the statues, on the books and on the canvas of paintings, doesn’t come from the earth. It comes from the wind. It is the wind itself, dying of exhaustion and thirst in the nooks and crannies of our possessions. 
Lifeless remains of the wind (house dust up close, from PRI).


(1) From Kerry Livgren and Kansas, Dust in the Wind; the Hebrew Bible, Ecclesiastes 12; and Edward FitzGerald, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (XXIII).

(2) My translation from Spanish, here's the original (suggestions welcome):
El polvo que se pega en las ventanas, en las imágenes, en los libros y en la tela de los retratos, no viene de la tierra. Viene del viento. Es el viento mismo que muere de cansancio y de sed en el rincón de las cosas íntimas. ¿De dónde viene el polvo? – Ermilo Abreu Gómez
Read the full story here (it’s short).