If I were to reconsider my career path, I think instead of being a librarian I might have chosen to be a botanist — specifically one that studies the under-appreciated grasses, weeds, mosses, and wildflowers that border dusty back roads and pop up in the cracks of the sidewalks, seemingly living on air alone.
I love the shape of them, silhouetted against the sky or nestled in the undergrowth. I love that they live their lives in quiet obscurity, unnoticed in the wild spaces that surround us as we go about our days. I love their common yet lively names — panic grass, goosefoot, spatterdock, spurge, scarlet pimpernel, fleabane, heal-all, sticktight, toadflax, trillium, dodder …. the list is endlessly satisfying. I love that they can propagate in clever ways — by shooting their seeds for yards at the merest touch, or grasping on to any passing animal or human with their burr-like seed pods and thus find a new place to sprout far from home.
I set out on a photowalk on Saturday under hazy skies, on a trail I’d never walked before. I brought a few lenses in my pack but thought that I’d start with my 100mm macro lens since shooting in dense woods often means getting up close to plants and wildlife. After only a few minutes on the trail I feared that there wasn’t going to be much to shoot … and then I began to really SEE. I love that magical transformation that takes place when you’re in a new environment, when you transition from looking around to really truly seeing what you were meant to see. I think it’s the thing that keeps us photographers ever passionate about our craft.
Here are some of the things that the path had to show me.
Hairy fuzzy stuff:
Being in the weeds, as it turns out, is not such a bad thing after all.