Category: Leaves - Observatory of the Quotidian
Observatory of the Quotidian
Early last week, I confess, I was complaining to myself.  After that beautiful sunny Sunday came several gray days that were exactly what I think of as January and wish it wouldn't be like.  I looked out the window and said to myself, "It might as well be black and white out there!"  At which point a little light-bulb went off in my head, I grabbed my camera, and switched it to black and white mode.  It made quite a difference to my perspective on things, I'm glad to say!  This could be the start of an addiction... ; )
A dear friend's hands
I had a lot of fun with these icicles until my dad knocked them down (bad for the gutters)
I love the patterns of light in the background


I have a Canon Powershot SD1000.  It's a decent little camera, and I like it.  My only real complaint is that I have some trouble getting it to focus where and how I want—time to whip out the manual!—except in Macro, which is without a doubt my favorite thing about this camera.  The Digital Macro setting is unfailingly fun to work with.  Last week's photos from my almost-daily rambles are a case in point:
I LOVE this photo!
Yes, we really did kick the soccer ball on the shoveled driveway.

On Sunday a photographer friend and I made an expedition to the park.  It felt so good to be out in the woods.  It gives me a sense of having room to breathe...
A rusty barrel sat on a wooden walkway, punctured with holes, its presence a mystery.
This is one of my few pictures of snow I am happy with. Why is it so hard to photograph well, I wonder?

I promised you an abstraction, didn't I? : )  After my friend I were driven out of the woods by the cold, we stopped by some snazzy glass buildings to catch the sunset.  Voilà:


As the recent thaw was freezing up, I saw the strange interaction of ice and plants: the one so hard, so definite, the other flexible, vital, and (at the opposite point of the year) growing.

Frozen puddles often intrigue me.  This one was on a school baseball field.
Here streams of water dripping from the roof encased box leaves in ice.



Because I live, you also will live.
                                                                                                             ~Jesus (John 14:19b)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...
                                                                                                             ~I Peter 1:3

On New Year’s Day (during a thaw) I went out with a mission: to find as many different green plants as I could.  I barely left my yard,  yet look what I found:

Box Shrub
Ivy & Sage
Rose & Alyssum
Now the snow has returned, and I look for the color in a landscape that (though lovely) can seem monochrome at first glance.  But these green, living things were under the snow before, and they are still there, still living.  Their condition reminds me of God’s people in the world; no matter how bleak, how dark, how cold the winter of this world, the life that is in Jesus Christ causes them to be green and living.  Do you know this life?

The first day of 2011 closed with a uniquely beautiful sunset.
This can be a year of unimaginable wonder.  God is waiting to reveal himself to us if we will only trust and obey him, and his plans for us are too great for us to understand.  I hope that you will join me in seeking him and discovering what he has in store for the bright, new year.


You know, it's my firm belief that we would be wise to revive the custom of the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Imagine with me for a moment:  After suitably fulfilling our obligation to Thanksgiving, we would begin the Christmas anticipation.  NOT the celebration, but the anticipation.  We would burrow through the boxes of decorations and scurry through the stores, yet reserve our delight in the knowledge of the festivities to come.  Then, when the day itself arrived, we would pull out all the stops, pop the corks on the bottles of sparkling cider, open wide our houses and celebrate mightily--for it is, after all, a great holiday (holy-day) we are celebrating.  This would continue through New Year's Day until the Feast of the Epiphany, at which point we would subside somewhat and return to normal life (leaving up the evergreens, please), but throw a few dinners in January and February for good measure.  How's that for a way to beat the winter doldrums?

Well, I haven't persuaded the world yet, but I try to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas as I can.  Accordingly, on this 5th Day of Christmas, I present a few observations on the holiday in addition to the winter world.

Our Christmas tree was blessed with new lights this year.
Golden Glow
Sweet-faced Angel
Technically speaking this may not be my best picture, but who could resist the
joie de vivre of this angelic hog?

If I look carefully, I still find green in the garden... among other interesting details.
Butterfly Bush
Fierce Icicle
Red Snowy Leaf

I'm not the only one out enjoying the wintry weather: these are ice-fishing shanties.
Ice Fishing
I consider this my shot of the week (on the same lake).

Let me leave you on a festive note...
Pink Bling
...and wish you a very Merry seven more days of Christmas!
Self-Portrait with Camera


Why, hello!  Welcome to the Observatory.  You're one of my first visitors—thank you so much for coming.  Who am I, you ask?  I'm Edith, the keeper of the Observatory.  This is my first project of this kind, and today's the Grand Opening, you know!  It's the first day of winter and I thought that would be a good time to start.

May I show you around?  Although the Observatory has its Grand Opening today, I've been collecting observations steadily for over a month.

The autumn was beautiful and full of color in late November.  I had a lovely walk in the autumn rain.
Red Leaf Drop

The nights were misty and increasingly cool.  (I thought I should just add, this photo is completely unedited—it was taken through a window.)
Misty Moon

The southward-slanting light made things fun to photograph, especially in the afternoon...
Mosaic Pieces
Fir Branch in the Sun
Drowned Leaves

...and I was having fun noticing details I'd never stopped to examine before.  (This is birch bark, but it reminds me of a Japanese illustration of mountains.)
Birch Bark

Signs of winter were starting to creep in; here Christmas comes to the garden center.
Gazing Ball

In early December we got our first sprinkling of snow.
A Sprinkling of Snow
Winter Conquers Autumn
Red Berries

Then, almost halfway through the month, a Blizzard hit!  I bundled myself up and fought my way through the flurries and drifts as it came down:
Old Man Evergreen
Slush on the Branch

The next day the landscape had been transfigured.
Across the Road
Snowclad Trees
Winter Blue

Since then, I've been enjoying the snow and carrying on my mission of noticing and documenting the quotidian.
Still Life Leaf
(Seasons mix at their edges)
Woven Into the Sky
(Many neighborhood trees are majestic, once noticed)
Fence Screw
(Even ordinary fences deserve a second look)
Baby Pinecone
(On a tree in front of a store; nature is irrepressibly wonderful!)

My, how the time has gone!  I hope you enjoyed the tour...

... and I hope to see you again soon!

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