Monday, March 8, 2010


I discovered these pallid little day lily shoots this weekend while raking. Everything else looks dead. Even the grass is the color of dried straw. This is a wonderful time to celebrate texture, before we begin to celebrate the color of spring.

Take your child outdoors and see how many different textures you can find. Touch things and see if you can describe how they feel. These dried hydrangea flowers feel papery.

Oak branches are gorgeous, encrusted with silvery and green lichens.

Some carpenters have left heaps of sawdust all around the house. I love sawdust. It is so fresh and clean. It is wonderful to sweep it across the floor, gathering up drywall dust as you go.

I found this tangle of grass roots on the edge of the beach, where the stormy winter sea ate away at the dune.

We found a beautiful silver driftwood log a couple of years ago. My husband has been turning it for me to weather it evenly on all sides. We brought it home a couple of weeks ago. It is going to be something, I don't know what yet, maybe a mantel.

I was amazed the first time I saw clever seagulls breaking clams on the rocks. They fly above the rocks or the road with the clams they have found and drop them from up high. Dinner's ready!

Look at the detail which goes into something as tiny as a feather.

I love the variety of stones on New England beaches.

These grasses grow in the briny wetlands. Their soft plumes look dazzling in the sunshine.

I have been puzzling out these markings on an old cedar log. My guess is that an insect tunneled under the bark long ago and laid some eggs. The larvae ventured out from their home in a radiating pattern, chewing little trails. What do you think?

Look how the water in the salt marsh carves the sand.

When you are holding a baby who can't crawl yet, take her outside and let her touch bark and leaves. That is what I did with my babies. I felt sorry for them, always looking at plants and trees from someone's arm, or the sling, or the stroller. They probably don't know what to make of an oak tree until they get to touch it. Suddenly, it is not just a picture, it is solid, is is scratchy. You can flake little bits of bark off with your fingernail. It has tiny mountains and valleys. It is not just gray. It is black and brown and silver with dustings of sage green. Let them touch. They will learn so much by exploring texture.


Lisa said...

Texture, yes! That's just what it is about March in Northen New England. I moved back to Northern New england after six yearsin the south Pacific. I expected dull gray and blah but is was the returning light on the rich texture that gave the landscape so much beauty, yes! Beth, I love your blog, The pictures are so beautiful, the ideas so good and generous and inspiring. Thank you!

Linda said...

Hello dear Beth,
I always love to stop by here to experience your wonderful photos! Such beautiful shots you have taken, the detail is astounding...

Christie said...

This was a beautiful post. If you read it aloud, a blind man would see it. It really is lovely. I wonder, should I do a similar post about Alaska sometime. I might be therapeutic for everyone/ anyone to do from their home. Thanks for brightening my day!

Appleshoe said...

I know I'm being redundant, but when are you going to publish a book? I'll be in line for the first copy. This was lovely.

Marsha said...

I just love the photos in this post. It's nice to be reminded just how vivid the "dull" colors of winter really are. :) (We leave our hydrangeas to dry on the bush over the winter, too!)

Shona Cole said...

I'll be second in line behind Appleshoe.... this post is beautiful. I am going out with my kids to do this tomorrow :)


farmama said...

Hi Beth,
I've missed so many beautiful posts here..... spring has been keeping me mighty busy on the farm! Your dolls are so beautiful!!! You've made so many too!!! What beautiful natural images in this post and I love your words about putting babies down and letting them touch and "be in" nature....I even let my babes taste the dirt! Every time I visit here I learn something new.....thanks for that!
Thinking of you!

Gabriele Kubo said...

Dear Beth,

you could be a floral design teacher! What you wrote is exactly what we are teaching here: getting sensitive for details, be conscious of textures. I always feel somehow pathetic, somehow exaggerating when I try to describe a texture or let the students describe, but feel now so reassured when I read your posting. Its quite difficult to find words for textures! You are great in this field and I am lining up for your book, too!
Japanese students mostly drive me crazy with their range of 2 words for textures:
"sarasara" means rough like bark
"tsurutsuru" means smooth like silk.
I really have to pull the words out of their noses. Although "sarasara" and "tsurutsuru" are fun sounds, arent they!

Trudi - Me and Ewe said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos