Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The high cliff along Bull Creek

with 14 comments

As often as I’ve shown scenes from Bull Creek, I don’t think I’ve ever shown this stretch that includes one of the tallest cliffs along the creek. The second photo offers you a better view of the way some slabs of rock have fallen on the creek bank. If you have trouble making out the yellow flowers, don’t worry; an upcoming post will give you a close look at one along a different part of the creek. Both of today’s pictures are from July 5th.


As manic as some segments of American society have become, voices of reason and moderation do exist. Two such are Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, whose book Cynical Theories appeared in 2020. Its subtitle is How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody. Here’s an example of their principled opposition to what I’ll call academania:

We affirm that racism remains a problem in society and needs to be addressed.

We deny that critical race Theory and intersectionality provide the most useful tools to do so, since we believe that racial issues are best solved through the most rigorous analyses possible.

We contend that racism is defined as prejudiced attitudes and discriminatory behavior against individuals or groups on the grounds of race and can be successfully addressed as such.

We deny that racism is hard-baked into society via discourses, that it is unavoidable and present in every interaction to be discovered and called out, and that this is part of a ubiquitous systemic problem that is everywhere, always, and all-pervasive.

We deny that the best way to deal with racism is by restoring social significance to racial categories and radically heightening their salience.

We contend that each individual can choose not to hold racist views and should be expected to do so, that racism is declining over time and becoming rarer, that we can and should see one another as humans first and members of certain races second, that issues of race are best dealt with by being honest about racialized experiences, while still working towards shared goals and a common vision, and that the principle of not discriminating by race should be universally upheld.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 11, 2021 at 4:36 AM

14 Responses

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  1. It’s amazing to see where those trees are growing on the creek edge – shows their determination to survive!

    Ann Mackay

    July 11, 2021 at 7:26 AM

    • And that creek edge is pretty tame compared to some precarious places where I’ve seen plants and trees hanging on. Look at this picture from 2016 where an Ashe juniper was still clinging to life upside down on a different cliff along Bull Creek:

      Make that three junipers in a row

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 11, 2021 at 8:23 AM

      • Extraordinary! Plants don’t give up easily!

        Ann Mackay

        July 12, 2021 at 5:35 PM

  2. These images really showcase the beauty of the ecosystem that thrives along a rock face. I like the varied greens, and the interesting way roots cling to rock. Fantastic images!!


    July 11, 2021 at 7:40 AM

    • Thanks. Speaking of ecosystems, the person who owns this land wants to build a hotel there but the City of Austin wants to buy the land to extend the existing greenbelt along Bull Creek. The most recent article I’ve found about that is from a year ago, so I don’t know the current status of the situation:


      Steve Schwartzman

      July 11, 2021 at 8:36 AM

  3. Everything in your pictures looks so lush and green. It seems you had plenty of rain.

    Peter Klopp

    July 11, 2021 at 9:05 AM

    • That we did. Short of flooding, which also happens here from time to time, it’s what we want and need.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 11, 2021 at 11:38 AM

  4. I hope the city wins and gets the land to keep it a greenbelt. I’m sure there are plenty of other places in town to build a hotel.


    July 11, 2021 at 9:08 AM

    • I think the developer wanted to build a hotel there precisely because of the scenic cliff and creek. I do hope the city prevails on this one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 11, 2021 at 11:40 AM

  5. Nice layers of sediment exposed.

    Steve Gingold

    July 12, 2021 at 3:15 AM

    • Maybe a geologist can tell us how long it took for all those layers to form in the first place and then to have the creek expose them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 12, 2021 at 5:47 AM

  6. The laciness of the trees is a nice complement to the rock, and the various greens are equally pleasing. I’m especially taken with the small cluster of flowers in the second photo, and how well they’re reflected in the water. Do you know what they are? Water-loving plants like some in the Ludwigia genus came to mind.


    July 13, 2021 at 5:42 AM

    • Because those flowers were on the opposite bank of the creek I couldn’t get a good look at the plants’ leaves. I’ve assumed the species is Silphium radula, which was flowering two miles upstream. Now I’m not sure. It was definitely in the daisy family, so not a Ludwigia.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 13, 2021 at 5:58 AM

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