Bromeli-eyed Inflorescence

People often anthropomorphize, sometimes seeing facial or other human features in plants or inanimate scenes, and often ascribing human feelings and emotions to pets, to wild animals, and even to important religious abstractions. This human tendency to anthropomorphize can provide comfort or cause unease, depending on the situation. The desire to find human attributes in the non-human may reflect our social nature and the…

The Power of an Orchid

With the world in turmoil, new wars piled upon wars, disasters natural and man-made, and increasingly mean-spirited politics, take a moment to contemplate the innocent but sensuous beauty of the orchid. Rather than an escape from reality, a few moments spent with the beauty of nature can be a source of balance and peace, and perhaps provide some of the wisdom needed to discern…

Leaves, but not of Grass

Despite the extended drought in Florida, the diversity and beauty of the plant life is stunning. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, where these original images were taken, is a wonderful place to see some of these plants. A light rain had just ended, providing an extra sheen to the already shiny leaves. The top image is of a plant I cannot name….

Smooth Banana and a Barbed Wire Bath

In the filtered light after a brief summer shower some things like these aging banana leaves take on a silken smoothness. Their texture, colors and folds give the illusion of fabric hanging from the stalk. However, most plants in the dry tropical bush are prickly and sharp, not smooth and silky. A little way along this same path there was an old bathtub draped…

Pointers in Red and Green

If there were such a thing as compass points within the picture frame, both of these images would be pointing off to the north-northeast. But they seem to be pointing to something else, too.

Under the Casuarina Tree

The casuarina tree is not a native to the island, and some consider it an invasive. They are tolerant of windswept places and this large example stands along a windswept beach. Its leaves/needles are long, so when the wind blows there is a gentle soothing sound and the small branches sway like little grass skirts. When the needles fall, they form a barrier to…

A Feast of Fruit for the Eyes

Each summer, the local botanical garden hosts “Mango Melee”, a festival focused on mangoes and other tropical fruit. Many of these fruits are unusual in their texture and flavor, and unfamiliar to those of us used to the apples, grapes, peaches and pears more common in the temperate regions. Some tropical fruits are a bit sour, others cloyingly sweet, some firm and crunchy, some…

Hot and Cold

We just spent 10 days in the upper Midwest where it was mostly cold and rainy — so different from the heat and humidity of the tropics. We all experience hot and cold, and often associate certain subject matter with each. For example, an image of a snow-covered field can evoke feelings of cold, while a sun-drenched beach may suggest the warmth of the…

Carbon Seam and Palm Lights

The dead trunk of a palm plant washed up on the shore. At one end was the tangle of roots joined to the base of the trunk. At the other, the spiraled remains of where the living palm fronds had been attached subtly tailed off into fibrous strands. These two semi-abstracts are interpretations of each end of this single object that had washed ashore.

Bromeliad Beauty

This bromeliad was growing in a friend’s garden. It’s not a perfect specimen, but the colors, the bit of water still held in the center, and the curve of the leaves all drew my attention as an illustration of the imperfect beauty available at our feet every day, if we only take time to look.