Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Like a seahorse

with 15 comments

Don’t you think this colorfully drying smartweed leaf (Polygonum or Persicaria sp.) that I found in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on August 14th looks like a seahorse?



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Thirty-three years ago, when I was a teenager in Nairobi, I was a book burner. The year was 1989, the year of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and I was seduced by the rising tide of Islamism. I greeted the fatwa with glee.

I rarely burnt actual books: we were too poor to afford a copy of The Satanic Verses. Instead, we wrote the title of the offending novel and the name of its author on cardboard and paper and set them alight. It was comical and pathetic. But we were deadly serious. We thought Ayatollah Khomeini was standing up for Islam against the infidels, bringing down the righteous fury of Allah upon a vile apostate. Had Rushdie been attacked then, I would have celebrated.

So begins a recent essay by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “The infidels will not be silenced: Like Salman Rushdie, I choose freedom.” Those familiar with Ayaan Hirsi Ali know that when she grew up she had a change of heart and mind and is now one of the world’s great champions of free speech (for which stance the forces of oppression have persecuted her). You’re welcome to read her full essay.


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 23, 2022 at 4:31 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

15 Responses

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  1. I looked at this several times and couldn’t see the horse. Now, the creature’s funny head seems apparent. I was trying to see it in profile rather than head-on. I suspect we’ll be seeing some other water-related posts soon. From what I saw of Shoal Creek yesterday, there will be flowing water again in some of your favorite spots — or at least some nice, reflective puddles.


    August 23, 2022 at 8:06 AM

    • I think we do more often see seahorses depicted from the side, and that was your expectation here. And you’re right that we did see some real rain here yesterday, even if it didn’t last as long as everyone hoped. As you pointed out, in some places it doesn’t take a whole lot of rain to trigger flash flooding in Austin. The very dry ground works against that by absorbing runoff. We still have a pretty good chance of some more rain today, and decreasingly over the next few days.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 23, 2022 at 8:14 AM

  2. Yes, it does remind me of a seahorse. 🙂 And thanks for the link – Ayaan Hirsi Ali always enlightens my perspective and helps me find my own courage.

  3. Yes, I see it! It looks illuminated too.


    August 23, 2022 at 11:34 AM

  4. I can’t see a seahorse. I also chose freedom!

    Alessandra Chaves

    August 23, 2022 at 1:04 PM

  5. Now that you mentioned it, I can also see the seahorse. What a dull world it would be if we had no imagination!

    Peter Klopp

    August 23, 2022 at 4:07 PM

  6. Try as I might I cannot see the seahorse. But I often don’t see in my own images what others see so there’s that.

    Steve Gingold

    August 24, 2022 at 3:19 AM

    • We’ve probably all had occasions when we couldn’t see what other people saw in a picture. After someone has made a suggestion I’ve sometimes managed to see it. Eve is very good at imagining things in an image, much better than I am.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 24, 2022 at 6:27 AM

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