Monday, January 18, 2010

Indoor plants, both real and not

In between doing other things, I've been downloading some truly stunning macro photographs from Mike Swanson's website all day. One of these graces the top of this post. I want to publicly thank Mike for his generosity. My computer won't download his entire library of images, which he gives away absolutely free, but I am not complaining, not in the least. In fact, I'm rather glad I can't just press a button and get it all - I'm "forced" to spend more time with each photograph.

There's a small snowstorm today. My house is generally somewhat dark in winter, and the room I'm sitting in has been decorated primarily in dark slate gray. These photographs are a wonderful remedy for these short dark days and an environment that feels robbed of highly saturated color. I am nearly starved for the lush greens of summer, in spite of the beautiful plants that are behind my right shoulder. I should turn around more often.

I used to hate houseplants. Is this not an odd thing to dislike? For one thing, I was convinced that I had a black thumb. Someone once gave me a jade plant, which is supposedly indestructible, and it died quite quickly in my care. But honestly, I do think some of my distaste for indoor plants was due to overexposure to a certain kind of late 1970's aesthetic. Everywhere I looked, (in my surely hyperbolic memory) I saw half-dead houseplants, brown ferns and scrawny vines in ugly handmade pottery held up by even uglier clunky macrame. I love rope, knots, pottery, and plants. Yet, it took me a long time to get over my prejudice against anything that even threatened to remind me of this wretched time period.

As I was writing the last paragraph, I was thinking still of Mike Swanson's photography. I had much of it on one of my old computers, and didn't realize how much I missed it. I am light and color deprived during the long Maine winter. It amazes me how something as simple as a small selection of photographs can help with that.

There was something I wanted to write about, but I've forgotten. I am quite overtired. I've taking to falling asleep on the sofa in the evenings. I could go to bed, but I've discovered a certain comfort in dozing while half-watching streaming video. It reminds me of the nights when I was a young child. I lay in bed straining to listen to the "grown-up" stuff that my parents watched on television.

Hold on - Earlier today I installed Skype on my computer. I just got a call from a young man in Algeria. What's this guy doing - calling folks at random? I wanted to immediately hang up. For all I know, he was hacking into my computer, trying to steal my identity. Hmm. If that was so, maybe I should have let him take it. I do have a lousy credit rating. But I did not hang up right away. He asked me if I spoke French and I answered that my French was tres mal. He agreed, and laughed, saying more that I did not understand. I hurriedly bid him adieu before I got sucked into the intrigue that lay in speaking to a stranger with a seductive accent on the other side of the world. I wonder how many calls such as these I'll get (and why).

Well, that knocked whatever was in my head right out of it. Algeria looked hot and sunny. Outside my window, a few cars pass in the slush on the road. Everything is white, dull green, and various shades of gray. I used to find it beautiful, the starkness of a Maine winter. I still do, at times. Maybe I ought to get out into the woods or visit the pond I kayak on in warmer months. I dream of being in an ice-cutting kayak. The idea is stupendous. I'd love to be able to paddle through the snow covered waterways.

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