Friday, March 16, 2012

LILAC BUDS

(1)


Nature holds many lessons…and two of the most profound are the fleetingness of time and the overlooked beauty of the commonplace. Both can be observed in a lilac bud. 

(2)









I've been making images of the buds on a small lilac bush at the corner of the cottage for a couple of weeks. It's astonishing how they've changed in so short a period—and to me, astonishing how beautiful these fingertip-sized buds can be when you take a moment to look close. 


(3)







The first three photos are all of the same bud. The top (1) was made today. Image (2) was made two weeks ago. I shot the one on the right (3) last week. Dormant, greening, opened—all in the space of a few days. Amazing.



(4)



All the other shots—(4, 5, 6)—were taken today. I may make more before it's over, because I want to keep pounding the lesson into my own foolish, neglectful head…that every day I miss far more than I see, disregarding the wonders of the commonplace and failing to see their beauty, though they are there in abundance, practically at my doorstep.



(5)
I hope you like the photos—but even more, I hope you get out and take a few moments to look at a bud or two yourself. Because that's the other part of the lesson…time never waits.
———————   

(6)

22 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh Grizz and I can just imagine that wonderful scent when at last the flowers emerge.

George said...

Lovely and interesting photos, Grizz. And, yes, they remind us of the fleetingness of time and the beauty of the commonplace. When we've mastered those two principles, we may have the key to the universe.

Grizz………… said...

Weaver…

Oh, yes! One of the most delightful fragrances in the world, the sweet heady joy of lilac bloom on April air.

Grizz………… said...

George…

I have no hope of ever attaining such mastery—but I do want to keep striving for all I can gain when it comes to understanding, remembering, paying attention. There is such diverse wonder in this world, such grace and beauty all around—and time is oh so short. If I had a thousand lifetimes it wouldn't be sufficient, nor can I bear to wait for eternity.

AfromTO said...

I can't read your first sentence it is cut up and squished beside the 1st photo?

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Do you have your browser set to a plus view?

I've tried Safari, Google, and Firefox, from my desktop Mac, my laptop, iPad, and iPod—that's 12 different ways—and the post looks right on all those screens. The first sentence should be below the top, first, photo. There's a paragraph beside the second photo down, and paragraphs below others, too. But I'll take it down, repost, and we;ll see if that helps any. Otherwise, I'm stumped.

AfromTO said...

looks perfect now-

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said...

There is something so calming about that color of the bud in that first photo... very zen.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

I'm glad it worked. I deleted the first photo, moved the paragraph down one extra line, went back up two lines and reposted the photo—that way it had extra space below the frame. I thought that might do the trick for you, but since it wasn't messing up on any of the browsers or devices I tried, there was no way for me to check. Good thing, too, because I was out of tricks. I'm pretty useless when it comes to computer stuff.

Grizz………… said...

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz…

Zenish, huh? Well, I can see that that, actually—a sort of restful center surrounded by quiet space, energy at peace, muted colors, soothing greens and grays…yeah.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, what astonishing beauty is all around us, Grizz, if only we would stop a while and look up close. I know you have a particular mission to focus awareness on those ordinary, everyday plants and flowers which we often just take for granted, and don't really 'see' any more. And your lilac sequence here does this wonderfully. Thanks as ever for spotlighting your little corner of the world, my friend, and creating something universal we can all identify with and appreciate. And thanks for teaching us — through your words and photos — how to see.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ - beautiful images of the lilac buds. Wow. And funny you should write of buds. Skipp and I were just mentioning how we thought it quite odd that there are o buds on the trees yet especially given the warm Winter we had. The pictures of your buds give me/us hope and I am going to take a look at my lilac bush a bit closer in just a while. Thanks Grizz for this and SO much more.
Love Gail
peace.....

Grizz………… said...

Solitary…

Oh, gee…thank you for all your kind words, though you make these modest posts sound a bit more lofty and purposeful than is probably the case. Mostly I just stumble along, either writing about whatever I've recently photographed, or photographing and then writing about whatever particular whim has recently taken my fancy. Any intent strong enough to be called a mission is simply to share whatever that may be—but you're right in that it often ends up being a focus on the wonder, beauty or uniqueness of the neglected, overlooked, and ordinary.

Yet often as not, the lesson has just passed through me before reaching these pages. To put it in terms a minister's son might appreciate, I'm less John the Baptist than the Prodigal Son. Both my mother and father, during countless days afield, tirelessly pointed out the marvels in the minutiae, finding elegance and hidden splendor in something as ordinary and ubiquitous as a clover bloom or yellow dandelion. Dad would hand me a buckeye or sycamore pod, and tell me to look close, as if he'd just placed a rare jewel in my hand. Mom would ooh and ahh over a clump of violets by the front step, or stand transfixed listening to a robin singing from the backyard haw. "Isn't that pretty, Son," she'd say.

So the truth is, most of what I'm doing when I focus on the wonder of the commonplace is to echo and honor them, by way of it first bouncing off my relearning thickheaded self. Perhaps not so much a mission as an atoning apology.

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

You're right—I've also noticed that many trees and shrubs seem to be slower responding to our early spring than do the flowers. If I were a real botanist, I could probably tell you why. To hazard a guess, I'd say flowers, both garden varieties and the ephemeral wildflowers, may respond more to the warming earth, while trees and shrubs—though feeling the heat—key more off photoperiods…or perhaps they're just slower to cycle. My forsythia bloomed today. And the roses are really starting to leap out. But there's not much to be seen on the sycamores and box elders and hackberries hereabouts.

Thank you, as always.

Robin said...

"I miss far more than I see."

Oh, truth. Though I try so had to pay attention, even though my life begs me to anesthetize myself.

I saw the Coyote again this morning. Screamed to a halt in the middle of the road, turned on my flashers and just watched him.

He was standing in an abandoned lot.... seemed to be watching the sunrise. It must have pleased him and safety must have been assured because he sat down and just regarded everything. Left him, regretfully and found a duck sitting at the front door of work.

I thought about the blessing of the two of them all day and wondered if I wasn't making too much of it.

Your post tells me, 'No'.

Rowan said...

One of the things I love about Spring is seeing all the buds on the trees gradually swelling and opening - a newly opened leaf is one of the loveliest of things.

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

Nope, I can't tell you what—that's between you, ol' coyote, and the duck—but it means something; definitely a gift. You're not making too much.

A few nights ago, well into the witchy hours when the moon was up and the sky spattered with stars, I stood on the deck and listened to the river sighing along, caught in the enormity of too many things, good and bad…and hoping, I guess, to find some answers as to how and when it will all end. About that time when I was starting to edge towards the maudlin, a coyote cut loose in the woods upstream, as sharp and bright and cheery as could be. The hair on the nape of my neck stood up just a little bit and at the same time I felt a joy in the mysterious wildness of it all—and it was all okay.

From another perspective—or maybe the same one—if you don't know it, you might get a kick out of the old Ian Tyson song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yYc8mYfrkg

Grizz………… said...

Rowan…

It sure is! I love the soft, muted colors (those some are quite colorful and bright) and the folds…all simply shouting spring!

Loren said...

This reminds me of Frost's great poem:

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Grizz………… said...

Loren…

Yes, indeed. I know the poen, but didn't think of its aptness when doing this post. Thank you. I appreciate the reminder.

Robin said...

Love it, Grizz! Thank you!

One of my co-workers lives in Evanston near a stream (wooded area) and a hospital. He told me that at night when the ambulance's sirens sound, they are joined by the howling of a pack of Coyotes. I may have to go parkin' one night....

..........

Also drove to work this morning and did a double take several times.... all of the flowering shrubs and trees were in full glory.... Magnolias, Forsythias, Cherries.... I drive the same route every morning and it happened overnight. Wonderful, but this weather is creeping me out.

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

Coyotes are quick to respond to all sorts of sounds. Sirens are a natural. So's a single, light toot on the car horn, sometimes.

When sitting around the campfire late at night, at a certain lonely, back-in spot along the Fox River in the pine woods of Michigan's wild U.P., with the star-punched ebony blanket of a vast northern sky overhead and maybe 3-4 miles of cedar swamp and jackpines and who-knows-what as the raven flies to Lake Superior, it's a fun thing to rare back and cut loose with a long, loud howl. And maybe half the time a nearby pack of coyotes will respond back, sometimes so close you can hear them in the underbrush across the small stream.

Well, fun if you've got someone with you to share the thrill, spooky when it's just you—and their response howls makes your nerves start chattering and frizzing DNA deep, then your blood goes all funny while a finger of hot ice goes zipping up and down your spine. Trust me, the logical portion of your brain may be harrumping and saying, "Hey, it's just of bunch of li'l ol' coyotes," but a recessive bit crawls out from under its ledge and hisses, "Ohmygod you fool! Why'd you waken 'em up and give away your position!" Makes for an interesting bout of insomnia.

Things are indeed popping all of a sudden. My forsythia bushes were just buds on Friday; Saturday morning, I looked and found they'd exploded like yellow fireworks.

Hey, if you liked Ian Tyson's coyote song, give a listen to his song about painter Charles Russell, The Gift, wonderfully written and one of my favorites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPpBHAgP7Zs