Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two shades of green

with 36 comments

Under overcast skies a year ago today I went to the Sierra Nevada side of Great Hills Park. We’d had a bit of rain, and I noticed a prominent raindrop (and a tiny one) on the leaflet of a Lindheimer’s senna plant (Senna lindheimeri). I knew to look because the leaflets of that species are covered with little hairs that trap water. Nearby I scooted beneath some Ashe juniper branches (Juniperus ashei) to check out the low remains of a few trunks. In the dim light two narrow areas on a decaying trunk seemed to glow lime-sherbet green. I’m assuming those green areas were made up of fine lichens.

◊         ◊

Racist “anti-racism”

… [A] positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy. This does not mean that we should stop identifying as white and start claiming only to be Italian or Irish. To do so is to deny the reality of racism in the here and now, and this denial would simply be color-blind racism. Rather, I strive to be “less white.” To be less white is to be less racially oppressive. This requires me to be more racially aware, to be better educated about racism, and to continually challenge racial certitude and arrogance.

If there’s anyone whose racial certitude and arrogance need to be continually challenged and forcefully repudiated, it’s Robin DiAngelo, author of the White Fragility from which the quoted racist trash comes. As one example of how far the United States has fallen from its ideals this year, consider that the people in charge of the American military are now forcing soldiers to read this garbage. Gone is Martin Luther King’s aspiration: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2021 at 4:31 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

36 Responses

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  1. I love that droplet, and the texture of the leaf. Nicely done!


    September 3, 2021 at 8:48 AM

  2. “Darkness in education” is an appropriate way to put it.

    Steve Schwartzman

    September 3, 2021 at 9:06 AM

  3. The drop on the leaf works like a tiny magnifying glass. Fabulous photo, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    September 3, 2021 at 9:18 AM

    • Thanks. You’ve made me wonder whether people ever used water as a magnifier before real magnifying glasses got invented in the Renaissance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 3, 2021 at 9:58 AM

  4. Beautiful and perfect drop of water. Unfortunately people are people. I recall when I was in Mozambique for work, and wanted to go collecting insects on a certain mountain, our guide said to us that he was from tribe X and on that mountain they were from tribe Z so he wasn’t going there. Otherwise he would be killed. I could not see the difference but they could. Tribalism is hard to get over. Too bad, for life is short.

    Alessandra Chaves

    September 3, 2021 at 12:03 PM

    • Vita brevis, tribus longa—to alter the Latin proverb about life being short and art being long. As you said, people are people, and tribalism is real, alas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 3, 2021 at 2:59 PM

      • It expresses itself not only in phenotypic clusters but also political affiliation, social class, religion, religion versus science etc and so forth. We create a “we” based on some criterion, and “we” are good, and the rest are “they”, who are bad. Humans can be and often are, pathetic. Myself included.

        Alessandra Chaves

        September 3, 2021 at 3:36 PM

  5. That second is a potential wall hanger.

    Steve Gingold

    September 3, 2021 at 3:29 PM

  6. I feel as if I could just run my finger along that leaf and the droplet is very pleasing. 🙂

    Ann Mackay

    September 3, 2021 at 5:24 PM

  7. The first image is my favourite. I am very fond of that shade of green and the image is enhanced by those two perfect raindrops.


    September 3, 2021 at 7:49 PM

  8. The second part of your post sent me scurrying down many internet wormholes and eventually I found myself wandering through the amazing world of military recommended reading lists. I take my proverbial hat off to the compilers of these lists. On the US lists, some of which were not up to date, I couldn’t find “White Fragility” but I did see “How to be an Antiracist”. It was only on a recommended list, not a compulsory reading list. https://www.dodreads.com/product/purchase-the-navy-reading-list/ Various military reading lists in the UK, Nato, and Australia were equally fascinating. On one Australian military source I found this quote “There is no excuse for any literate person to be less than three-thousand years old in his mind.”
    BH Liddell Hart
    Of course, then, I had to know more about BH Liddell Hart. That’s another great story.
    Eventually I dragged myself away from military reading lists to write this comment. My overall feeling is that, if your military is reading even 20% of the recommended reading lists, you have a fine, well-educated military which is continually learning about its place in history, its role today, and what its future may hold.


    September 3, 2021 at 8:34 PM

    • The compulsory and the recommended tend to blend when there’s as strong a hierarchy as exists in the military. My understanding is that the “racist ‘anti-racist'” stuff comes in through required workshops/training in the military, as is the case in many American corporations now, too. A few hours ago I heard about the case of a man who is suing American Express for having fired him to reduce the amount of “whiteness” in the company.

      In perusing the Navy book list you linked to, I’m encouraged to see that most of the titles seem to have to do with warfare, which is what the military exists for, rather than wokeism. I agree with B.H. Liddell Hart (whom I’d never heard of) about the importance of a good knowledge of history. I’m appalled that so many American schoolchildren are allowed to “graduate” even though they know almost no history at all.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 3, 2021 at 9:10 PM

  9. Yes, schools here aren’t strict enough.

    Steve Schwartzman

    September 3, 2021 at 9:29 PM

  10. Yes, it’s a big failure.

    Steve Schwartzman

    September 3, 2021 at 9:30 PM

  11. I don’t think you understand. I want better education for poor children.

    Steve Schwartzman

    September 3, 2021 at 9:34 PM

  12. Thanks for sharing this blog


    September 4, 2021 at 4:05 AM

  13. I’ve seen Lindheimer’s Senna, but never have taken such a close look at the leaves. I didn’t realize they have that appealing texture; the combination of the texture and the droplets is nice. I especially like the second photo, and in a forced choice probably would chose it. The green glow reminds me of swamp gas, and that brings to mind the stories of old man Bailey roaming the Brazoria prairies with his lantern while he looks for his jar of hootch.

    Speaking of racism, it seems to me there’s an odd connection to discussions taking place around the drug Ivermectin. That drug is used to treat Onchocerciasis, or river blindness. It’s endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, and I knew people afflicted with the disease when I was there. Caused by the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus, it’s transmitted by the bite of a black fly, and leads to a variety of conditions including blindness. There’s more information in this WHO fact sheet.

    Millions of people afflicted with Onchocerciasis have been treated and are being treated with Ivermectin. When the media sets up a false dichotomy by declaring that Ivermectin is a veterinary drug meant only for horses and not for humans, I can think of only three possibilities: they don’t understand the history, nature, and appropriate use of the drug; they prefer to misrepresent the nature of the drug in order to portray those who use or consider using it for Covid treatment as dolts; or they don’t consider millions of Africans to be human.

    Clearly, Ivermectin isn’t an anti-viral; I’d never take it for Covid or recommend it for that use. Still, it offends me every time I hear “It’s not meant for human use.” It certainly is meant for certain human use, and it’s consistently been saving the sight of humans with differently colored skin.


    September 4, 2021 at 8:37 AM

    • Just for grins, I took another look at the search returns for ‘ivermectin’ just now, and I see that various sites are beginning to offer more information about the legitimate uses of the drug, including treatment of river blindness. Unfortunately, that tendency doesn’t seem to have reach mainstream or social media yet. I hope it does.


      September 4, 2021 at 8:41 AM

    • Glad you like the second photo, which differs from my usual fare.

      I wasn’t aware of doctors using ivermectin to treat onchocerciasis. Of all the people I know, you’re the only one who’s had personal contact with people afflicted with that disease.

      You’ve made an excellent point about ivermectin providing yet another example of media misrepresentation. I don’t know how to weigh the likelihood for each of your three possible explanations. In the past few years we’ve seen plenty of instances of purposeful distortion, so that may well be what’s going on here. I remember last year when Trump asked if bleach could be taken internally to treat Covid-19. That seemed naive to me, but it was a question. Many activists and people in the media later purposely misreported the incident as Trump telling people to ingest bleach.

      Also speaking of political manipulation, I noticed the WHO document you linked to calls Venezuela the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. That sort of Orwellian name isn’t new, of course. The so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a prime example.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2021 at 11:09 AM

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