Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Out of Words

For the past month my attention has moved way from the sort of writing that characterizes the usual posts in Scriblets, eyes turned instead to another pair of longer projects now complete. When it comes to writing, ‘complete’ doesn’t always imply something is completely finished, but at least for now I am comfortable in turning back to the old faithful format of posting something blog-like. The trouble is, a whole lot of words aren’t bouncing around my head now and no funny, bizarre or curious topics lie at hand. Still, in the off times from working on a pair of stories I did play with my camera, juggling some appealing images around the homestead here off Old Dixie Lane, and now I'm thinking they might make a suitable return to Scriblets.

Even though spring has come to Florida and many of the trees are rustling in new green, on occasion I stumble across a sight that still carries the darker colors and tones of another season, something that lost its place in the turning cycle and lies abandoned in a somber mix of late autumn, early winter hues. In the picture above a moldy pair of squash-gourds sit on a bed of dead leaves. The palette is strangely orchestrated and unexpected in this casual non-arrangement of two shapes. A less than joyous image, it manages to be beautiful.

What catches the attention in this photo of a chair back with flowers is the unlikely scenario of “jailed flowers” pushing their faces against the bars. It was the first thought that came to mind in turning to see these small flowers stretching to poke their faces through the vertical strips that make up the chair’s back. I wish I could name the flowers, but they are another clump of anonymous blossoms that color this country yard.

A week or so back, the dog was barking at something near one of the sheds and wouldn’t stop. Three times I called for her to shut up but like many times she ignored me and went on with her barking, eyes focused on something at the base of a small leafless bush. Eventually I walked over to shoo her off and to see what was causing the excitement. The baby turtle in the picture above had apparently just hatched from a buried egg and in the first moments of life was being tormented by a noisy puppy. I guessed right away that it was a hatchling of the gopher turtles that sometimes wander around the backyard nibbling grass. Before releasing this baby I washed it off and took a snapshot. Must say, it’s much more beautiful than its full grown elders who are a dull and smelly greenish brown. Maybe the yellow spots fade with maturity and the black turns dark green.

Three years ago a friend in Japan arranged to have delivered to me here at Christmas, an amaryllis bulb. It was left to me to plant the bulb, a magical orb that has bloomed each year since and the photo above shows this spring’s new stalk emerging from the bulb just visible beneath the Spanish moss. The amaryllis lives outside and receives minimal care, but manages well on its own. This picture shows a first stage.

This is what the amaryllis looks like about ten days after the stalk first emerged. Two of the blooms are almost fully open and two others (left and right) have yet to unfurl. The background shows a view of the backyard.

In November an old friend from New York visited for a couple of weeks and spent much of his time wandering around the yard sketching. One day he did the above study of an angel trumpet planted just off the back porch. He used Japanese Uni watercolor pencils to give the leaves their distinctive yellow green and managed to capture the balance and grace of branches beautifully.

Came home from the supermarket the other day and almost without looking I slung some potatoes and avocados in a bowl on the kitchen counter. A few minutes later I noticed the bowl and decided my slinging had a touch of the artistic. There was a star fruit and a couple of onions already in the bowl and along with the sweet potatoes and avocados, made for a nice arrangement. I tweaked it a little then took it outside to photograph on an old beam bordering a flower bed. The red flowers painted on the rim of the bowl provide a colorful harmony.

And here’s the feisty Farina taking a rest from her outdoor labors of running, digging, barking and chasing squirrels. Ask her and she might tell you she’s living in dog heaven, that the eats aren’t bad and that her Papa is well-trained.


  1. Beautiful pictures. My dad used to bring Mom an amaryllis and she loved them.
    Farina looks contented. Does she know she was a clue on Jeopardy? Okay, not actually her, but the grain. I only got it right because of her, though.

  2. Does Farina have Ridgeback in her? I saw another pic of her on the bed. She's beautiful and adorable!


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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America