Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Masses of sunflowers and boulders

with 15 comments

Sunflowers and Boulders 3767

Having begun to head for home on October 3, 2014, and with Tucson already behind us in the west, I pulled over at the Texas Canyon rest area on Interstate 10 in Arizona. What prompted my stop was the natural piles of boulders along the highway there, but as I started down the exit ramp for the rest area I noticed various kinds of wildflowers. The ones you’re looking at here are obviously in the sunflower family, but I’m afraid I can’t be more specific: stranger in a strange land, and all that.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 29, 2015 at 5:28 AM

15 Responses

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  1. I haven’t decided whether this is a gift or torment. It is -6°F here this morning.

    Actually, it is most welcome and quite warming. It has me thinking Spring…and summer too.

    Steve Gingold

    January 29, 2015 at 5:45 AM

    • Your “gift or torment” is an unusual dichotomy. There’s no question that Arizona at the beginning of October makes quite a contrast with Massachusetts at the end of January, but you needn’t go that far afield. You’ll probably be envious in hearing that Austin got up to around 80° yesterday. I went out and took some pictures but didn’t find any wildflowers at all. That said, and in line with your last sentence, I saw early signs of greening that made me think spring isn’t far away (although we’re still likely to get some more freezing weather in February).

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 29, 2015 at 6:08 AM

      • Just today I saw some prickly sow-thistle and some green-thread, growing on the same lot. We’ve had inches of rain, and now a week of sunny and warm, so I suppose it’s not surprising.


        January 29, 2015 at 7:57 PM

        • Not surprising at all in Texas at the end of January. In some years I’ve seen new-season wildflowers by now, though in other years I haven’t. Half-way into January there were some small but prominent stands of greenthread flowering along Mopac, but a freeze put an end to them and they haven’t yet returned.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 30, 2015 at 6:11 AM

  2. The yellow (possibly sunflowers) against the blue made me think of this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diwuu_r6GJE which perhaps we could rename Sunshine on the Boulders, in honour of your photo.


    January 29, 2015 at 8:01 AM

  3. Thanks for this one, Steve. It’s lovely, and warms me. It makes a fun juxtaposition to see all that sunshine as the wind is blowing and chilly air is seeping through the floorboards here….


    January 29, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    • Your reaction is similar to Steve G.’s. The temperature got up to 80° here yesterday. Today is mostly sunny and the high is supposed to be in the mid-70s. I wish I could send some of that through your floorboards.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 29, 2015 at 11:08 AM

  4. That was quite a trip to AZ you took last fall. I loved the time we spent there when daughter went to ASU. There is an allure I simply can’t put into words when it comes to its canyons, rocks and mountains.


    January 29, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    • It was quite a trip to the Southwest last fall, and although I’ve shown plenty of pictures from New Mexico and Arizona (and some from southwestern Colorado), I could’ve shown plenty more. From what you say about spending some time near ASU, you understand what it’s like out there. I was happy to finally have a chance to play (photographically) with the desert, something I don’t get to do in Texas unless I drive a good part of the way to Big Bend.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 29, 2015 at 11:13 AM

  5. It’s amazing to me how you managed to balance the flowers and rock, without allowing either to predominate, or even overcome, the other. The photo brought to mind this verse, from Pablo Neruda’s “You Will Remember”:

    You will remember those gifts from the earth:
    indelible scents, gold clay,
    weeds in the thicket and crazy roots,
    magical thorns like swords.


    January 29, 2015 at 8:19 PM

    • Thanks for appreciating the balance I worked at attaining between the wildflowers and the rocks. I crouched till I was at the right height to make that happen, and I managed to keep my balance while doing so.

      I wasn’t familiar with that selection from Neruda—he wrote so much!—but I tracked it down and found it’s the second quatrain in Sonnet IV (out of 100), copied below. The translator rendered irascible as ‘indelible,’ which strikes me as taking liberties, but I guess the translator could claim poetic license.

      Recordarás aquella quebrada caprichosa
      A donde los aromas palpitantes treparon,
      De cuando en cuando un pájaro vestido
      Con agua y lentitud: traje de invierno.

      Recordarás los dones de la tierra:
      Irascible fragancia, barro de oro,
      Hierbas del matorral, locas raíces,
      Sortílegas espinas como espadas.

      Recordarás el ramo que trajiste,
      Ramo de sombra y agua con silencio,
      Ramo como una piedra con espuma.

      Y aquella vez fue como nunca y siempre:
      Vamos allí donde no espera nada
      Y hallamos todo lo que está esperando.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 29, 2015 at 10:27 PM

  6. […] you want, you can have a look back at the Texas Canyon rest area from our 2014 trip to the […]

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