Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two brown things

with 18 comments

The opening picture confirms that as I was wandering near Bull Creek on September 30th I noticed something brown on a sideways inflorescence of giant ragweed, Ambrosia trifida. I managed to find a position from which the unknown thing—probably the remains of a caterpillar—lined up with a nearby prairie agalinis flower, Agalinis heterophylla. The photograph below, from November 9th at the Riata Trace Pond, is of a curlicue or tilde coming off the main part of a bushy bluestem seed head, Andropogon glomeratus. Whether the tilde is upside down, as shown here, or right side up, depends on which side it gets looked at from. Now that I think of it, that could be a metaphor for many things in life, couldn’t it?

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The other day I came across a revealing 14-minute excerpt of a discussion between Coleman Hughes and Bonnie Snyder about some of the abuses being perpetrated by “woke” teachers in our public schools. The examples provided in the interview refute the claim that Critical Race Theory isn’t really being taught in our schools. You can find out much more in Bonnie Snyder’s new book, Undoctrinate.

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UPDATE. The day before yesterday I mentioned that I gave up my subscription to the New York Times some years ago after I found that too many of the stories the paper presented as news were ideologically slanted. Yesterday I came across an Epoch Times article from March 2021 reporting that New York Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood similarly found that “in stories from 2020 about Project Veritas videos, [New York Times] writers writers Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu had inserted sentences that were opinions despite the articles being billed as news.”

“’If a writer interjects an opinion in a news article (and will seek to claim legal protections as opinion) it stands to reason that the writer should have an obligation to alert the reader, including a court that may need to determine whether it is fact or opinion, that it is opinion,’ Wood wrote in a 16-page decision denying the paper’s request to dismiss a lawsuit from Project Veritas.”

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 18, 2021 at 4:36 AM

18 Responses

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  1. Another fine curl you found there!


    November 18, 2021 at 6:09 AM

    • As many times as I’ve looked at bushy bluestem, I don’t think I’d ever photographed a curl like this on one till that morning.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2021 at 6:18 AM

  2. Given the twists and turns of the curlicue, a paraphrase of the old Joni Mitchell song comes to mind: “I’ve looked at grass from all sides now…”


    November 18, 2021 at 6:38 AM

  3. Nice curl.

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 18, 2021 at 7:23 AM

    • Curves provide esthetic pleasure.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2021 at 7:32 AM

      • They do! And that is a particularly pleasing one!

        Ann Mackay

        November 21, 2021 at 6:31 AM

        • As a math teacher I spent lots of time playing with curves. Nature plays with them, too.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 21, 2021 at 6:50 AM

          • Nature’s play allows photographers to play too – aren’t we lucky! 🙂

            Ann Mackay

            November 21, 2021 at 7:03 AM

            • I agree with glee. (After I wrote that I realized it’s ambiguous. It could mean that I agree with you and that I do so with glee. It could also mean that glee is something I agree with.)

              Steve Schwartzman

              November 21, 2021 at 7:10 AM

              • I guess it depends on the glee, especially the reason for it…I can certainly agree with glee caused by the beauty of nature or the chance to photograph it! 🙂

                Ann Mackay

                November 21, 2021 at 11:20 AM

  4. I really like the way you lined up the prairie agalinis behind the unknown brown matter. This year ragweed took over areas of the orchard. That explains why our allergies are worse than usual! Regarding “curlicues” I found an unknown plant in the orchard near the slough, with a lot of curlicues to each stem. I plan to cut a few stalks to use in dried arrangements in our home. This time of year I love looking for dried plants – the colors of dried stalk, stem and leaves is outstanding.


    November 18, 2021 at 7:38 AM

    • Your colder weather puts you ahead of us down here when it comes to dried plants, though we’ll soon enough catch up to you. As you’ve seen here over the years, I’ve gotten my share of portraits showing dried plants.

      Was the ragweed that took over parts of your orchard the giant ragweed that’s so common in Austin?

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2021 at 9:03 AM

  5. Like the tilde in the second photo especially.
    So between the two, I’ll choose photo number two as the winner. But if you gotta have ragweed, photo number one is good. Wish it was Goldenrod instead of ragweed. ( I see how bias creeps in to our evaluation of news…)


    November 18, 2021 at 9:51 AM

    • There need be no competition between the two. And never fear, I have a couple of goldenrod posts scheduled for 9 and 12 days from now (that’s how backed up I am).

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 18, 2021 at 1:05 PM

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