Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for August 14th, 2022

Pickerelweed abstractions

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After I went rainbow hunting at the pond along Gault Lane on July 7th, I concentrated on some of the flora on the pond’s margins. Here you’re seeing two abstract portraits of pickerelweed, Pontederia cordata. The first shows a bud sheath. The second obviously shows flowers, but I took the picture at an unconventional angle.



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Since childhood I’ve known that in some cases a part of a country is cut off by foreign land from the main part of the country. For Americans, the most prominent example is Alaska, which Canada separates from the “lower 48” states. Hawaii is not in the same category: yes, it’s cut off from the main part of the United States, but by an ocean, not by foreign land.

Just this week I learned that people have coined a term for a part of a country that’s cut off by foreign land. The term is exclave, made by replacing the prefix en- in enclave with its opposite, ex-. Some countries are content to live with exclaves. The United States isn’t going to invade Canada to connect Washington State to Alaska. In contrast, this year Russia invaded the* Ukraine to create a land bridge to the* Crimea, which it had illegally annexed from that country in 2014 but which had still remained reachable by land from the rest of Russia only by traveling on Ukrainian land.

Another Russian exclave that European countries are worried about is Kaliningrad Oblast—an oblast is akin to a state—which used to be German but after World War II became part of Russia. The Kaliningrad Oblast remains separated from the rest of Russia by Poland and Lithuania. Russia had for decades controlled both of those countries, and Lithuania in particular is worried that Russia wants to re-annex it. Given what’s going on in the Ukraine, the worry is justified.

The most complicated exclave in the world appears to be Baarle-Hertog, which comprises 24 tiny pieces of Belgium inside the Netherlands.

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* With certain geographic names English has traditionally used the. Everyone says the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the Vatican. People familiar with New York City know about the Bronx. For most of my life people said the Ukraine, but English speakers are now increasingly dropping the the in the Ukraine.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2022 at 4:28 AM

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