Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 17 comments

I wasn’t stumped when it came to taking photographs—the more abstract, the better—of the many slender stumps still standing erect in the Willow Trace Pond in far north Austin on July 21st. Notice the one cattail plant (Typha sp.) that had arisen in the midst of all that wreckage.



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More than two years into the pandemic, most people worldwide have likely been infected with the virus at least once, epidemiologists said. Some 58% of people in the U.S. had contracted Covid-19 through February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated. Since then, a persistent wave driven by offshoots of the infectious Omicron variant has kept daily known cases in the U.S. above 100,000 for weeks….

People who don’t know whether they have been infected should be careful, Dr. Jameson [at the University of Minnesota Medical School] said, because they might yet get sick as antibodies wane and new variants arrive.

“There are plenty of people who’ve had the vaccines or even had Covid and then have gotten Covid again,” he said. “It’s not as if it makes you immortal.”


You can read more in a July 25th Wall Street Journal article.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 28, 2022 at 4:28 AM

17 Responses

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  1. I don’t know whether I’ve been infected. It’s pretty much out of my mind. Last time we were in the E.R. three patients tested positive. Covid is a very common disease right now. Like a bad cold. Nice abstract.

    Alessandra Chaves

    July 28, 2022 at 2:28 PM

    • And your words seem a pretty good abstract of the state that Covid-19 has reached in the United States today. Like you, I don’t know if we’ve ever been infected; if so, it was with no symptoms.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2022 at 2:33 PM

  2. I like the muted tone of most of the photo, with that bit of green swath at the upper right–very nice.


    July 28, 2022 at 2:39 PM

    • I’m glad you called my attention to that greenness in the upper right. I hadn’t really paid attention to it, as focused as I was on the composition and the abstraction.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2022 at 2:46 PM

  3. The one cattail is like the one lonely person who hasn’t been stumped by Covid yet. Even though I haven’t tested positive for Covid (yet) I did appreciate the chance to take an antigen test the other day. I was beginning to feel I was missing out on a vital life experience. I am quite happy to forgo the experience of Covid though.


    July 29, 2022 at 2:05 AM

    • The one cattail could be me or Eve. Neither of us has ever had Covid, so far as we know, and yet the article claims most people have, even if they don’t know it. Like you, we’re happy to forgo the experience, which it seems increasingly many people have had more than once. So much for the effectiveness of the “vaccines.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2022 at 6:27 AM

      • Perhaps the effectiveness of vaccines is that people are alive to have the virus again, and again. As I have probably mentioned before I grew up in an era where we were proud of our vaccination records and my yellow international vaccination booklet was one of my most treasured possessions, especially as it allowed me to travel freely. I remember when we were kids how we used to compare our smallpox vaccination scars ie who had the most impressive one! (Just checked. Mine is still impressive.) I suppose with our vaccinations we thought we were invincible, as kids, but the fact that I didn’t get typhoid, for example, was probably more to do with my parents’ strict control of what and where I could drink and eat than the typhoid shots. Plus rigorous public health measures to control typhoid outbreaks. Ditto with tetanus. The tetanus shots were just an added security measure to boost my parents’ rigorous approach to wound care. Having said all that, it will be interesting to know why some people remain Covid free.


        July 29, 2022 at 8:35 PM

        • As an American I got my share of vaccines growing up, and then more when I joined the Peace Corps and lived in Honduras. From your account it seems you’ve had even more than that, and I’m relieved to hear they’ve stood you in good stead.

          Some doctors and scientists are now saying that the Covid “vaccines” aren’t vaccines in the traditional sense of the word because they don’t prevent most people from getting or spreading the disease. That’s not how the Covid “vaccines” were billed when they came out in early 2021, but in 2022 we see that the reality is something else.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 29, 2022 at 10:35 PM

  4. A quick glance made me think all were cattails. That’s a lot of stumps.

    Steve Gingold

    July 29, 2022 at 2:40 AM

    • I also think all the stumps are old cattails, but I’m not positive. You could say I’m stumped about their identity.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 29, 2022 at 6:38 AM

  5. When I first looked at your image, I assumed the stumps were cattails. That’s the kind of scene that’s quite common at the Brazoria refuge, where huge stands of the plant edge the ponds and sloughs, and look much like this as their season comes to an end. It looks as though there’s some drying algae at the edge of the pond, too — akin to what you showed in another recent photo. At least Willow Trace still has some water. If I can finally get myself in gear, I’ll get a post up today from Walden West, where the pond clearly isn’t spring-fed.


    July 30, 2022 at 6:57 AM

    • I think the stumps were cattails but I hesitated to say so because in other years I’ve seen lots of Sesbania growing in that area. What you say about similar sights at Brazoria adds evidence that these stumps really were cattails. The drying algae in the lower right seems to have been the Chara I did a post about in 2012 (and which I just linked to in my reply to your previous comment):

      Doeskin Ranch

      Now I’m waiting to see what your drying pond had to offer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 30, 2022 at 7:08 AM

      • That does appear to be Chara in your current photo. I’d forgotten that nice closeup in your earlier post. As much as I dislike most ramen noodles, I’d still take those over a bowl of Chara.


        July 30, 2022 at 7:25 AM

  6. Re: Covid — In two days I attended four events – three were related to my students or my show, so it wasn’t easy to dodge attending them. The fourth was where a friend was reading her ‘fabulas’ — At all four events, I was one of the few wearing a mask, but I also dined and had the token wine at my students’ show… When my throat began to get scratchy, I thought, ‘Uh oh…’ and the next day the sneezes started – ‘uh -oh’ so I withdrew from society the moment the scratchy throat gave its first warning…

    I suspect that most people who have not gotten sick have been very proactive at staying well, The odds were against me with those four events…. and I have since learned that one can be contagious for two days ‘before’ having symptoms — lucky for me I was home and not around anyone, so hopefully I did not spread it to anyone else..

    It’s been two weeks since the last of the fever, but I remain cautious – that the occasional cough might not still have a trace of infectiousness – even if the medical folks say that it’s ok to resume the normal life with society!

    • Looking at your comments in chronological order, I just arrived at this last one. Now I understand what happened. I wonder if one or more of the four events you attended were the source of your infection, given that the incubation period can be days or even more than a week (unless the latest variants spread faster). Oh well, we’ll never know. The good thing is that you’re recovering well.

      As for “most people who have not gotten sick have been very proactive at staying well,” I’ve long been uncertain about which and how many precautions to take. Age puts Eve and me in a high-risk group, yet with relatively few years left we don’t want to live as hermits. For some time now we’ve worn masks only in places that require it (like doctors’ offices). We recently spent two nights in Corpus Christi and two in Dallas—our first nights away from home since the pandemic began. Let’s hope the disease follows the adage “Live and let live.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2022 at 7:01 AM

  7. […] almost everything I saw on July 21st in the Willow Trace Pond in far north Austin was darkened old stumps, some new cattail plants (Typha sp.) had sprung up, and the arcs of their long leaves, both green […]

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