Tuesday, April 28, 2009


"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change." -- Siddhartha Buddha


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

This morning I reminded my daughter to wish everyone at her daycare "Happy Earth Day."

She immediately inquired "Happy Birthday?"

I could see the visions of cake and balloons sparkling in her eyes.

I gently corrected her, but it's hard to get the concept of the planet and taking care of it through to a two year old. (Though she does remember to turn off lights and water faucets and always colors on both sides of the paper. Good habits start young.)

Abbey's mistake got me to thinking, though: why not really celebrate Earth Day? Why not make a dessert with organic ingredients, light some beeswax candles, and buy each other eco-friendly gifts?

And, come to think of it, why shouldn't we get the day off to do community greening projects or at least spend the day outside enjoying this beautiful planet we inhabit?

I've got lots more ideas on this subject, but I have to go now - I'm baking a blue and green cake.


Monday, April 20, 2009

FREE SHIPPING! Happy Earth Week!

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, World of Color Photography will give full refunds of all shipping and handling charges on any items purchased from the website before midnight on Sunday, April 26. Happy Earth Week!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Harvesters in Spring

Enter the ant.

So, my daughter's doting grandmother (this would be my mom, Queen of Backyard Naturalists and Internet Shoppers) recently found out how much Abbey likes watching the fire ants that build mounds all over this great state. Abbey's been bitten more times than I can count by the little buggers, but still she loves to watch them. And, I must admit, I do, too. Though I probably spend more time watching her feet to make sure she doesn't get close and get bitten again.

Well, Grammy's aiding and abetting my daughter's nature study in the most wonderful way: she sent us an ant farm.

We never had an ant farm when I was a kid. (Mom says her naturalist tendencies have taken the last few decades to mature.) Now that we've had one for about 24 hours, I can say this:

It . . . is . . . AWESOME.

Abbey likes it. She looks at the industrious little insects whenever we remind her. (This is serious interest for a two year old.) I, however, am completely enthralled.

The fifty or so harvester ants in there have already dug two side tunnels half way down the eight inch mound and are carefully depositing each grain of sand that they move to a very precise location. They have a plan.

They also often fall down the outside of the domed "hill" but, protected by their hard exoskeletons, they quickly right themselves and start back up again. They are determined.

I must do more research to find out about these harvesters. All I know right now is that their bite is even more painful than a fire ant's bite, and I can tell you from experience that those are no fun. (I take breaks from studying the ants to check that the lid is still securely fastened at least a half dozen times a day.)

I want to learn more than the power of their bite, though. I know I'm not the first person to be intrigued by the seemingly utopian society of Antville, but where there's interest in the natural world, there's generally a good reason for it.

So, off to Google and Wikipedia and my stash of nature books and ID books I go. I'll be back with more info soon, but in the meantime, I think it's apropos for Earth Week to start thinking about these little sand movers: Each of us, doing just our little part, can make our home planet a more beautiful place.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Springing Into Spring

This piece was written for the April edition of Moonshine magazine.  To view the whole magazine, please visit www.moonshine.southerncreativity.com

I recently had the good fortune to travel to Virginia and back over the first weekend of spring. Driving northward from the bountiful blooms of the Florida panhandle to the still-skeletal trees of the Appalachians, it seemed at first as if we were traveling back into winter. On the contrary, though, the longer I spent staring, rapt, out the windows, the more attuned my vision became to the subtler signs of mountain spring.

Where the azaleas, tulips, redbuds, and daffodils had already danced onto the stage of the deep South, singing “Spring is here!” the trees and plants of the mountains seemed, still, to be holding their breath, anxious and waiting in the wings for their cue.

This made me think that spring is the season of held breaths. Starting with that poor, beleaguered groundhog in early February, we’re all waiting for Mother Nature to tell us “It’s all right. You can breathe. I’m going to bring the flowers and the leaves and the warm sun and the soft breezes back this year. I keep my promises.”

And we wait and hope and wait and look for buds and tiny sprigs of peridot green and wait and then one bright morning, the natural world bursts forth in its party ruffles like a line of can-can dancers. The birds strike up the chorus and it’s time to celebrate!

So, artists, photographers, sculptors, crafters, knitters, jewelers, weavers, and writers, it is time for us to join the party. Not just to document the joy, but to take some time to revel – to let our own party ruffles fly out around us as we twirl in the confetti of petals. To strut our fine feathers. To turn our faces to the sun, smile, and say, “Welcome back!”

So get out there and party with the primavera! Take all of your supplies outside on the next sunny day and let loose. See your work in the truest (and prettiest) light: sunlight. Listen to the springsong and feel the warming wind, smell the blossoms on the fruit trees and trace the softest petals with the tip of your finger.

Take it all in and then let it go freely into new and inspired work. And, try to remember to dedicate at least one piece to Mother Nature – she deserves a thank you for always keeping her promises.