Sunday, September 30, 2018

Milkweed Bugs

Every day there are signs that we are stepping into autumn. As seed pods form, leaves begin to wither. About a week ago, I noticed what looked like a few orange beads on a milkweed plant down the street. Soon it was a moving mass of safety-orange-colored insects. They are creatively called Milkweed Bugs. While this this particular plant has a pretty extreme infestation, they tend to be expected on milkweed. You can see a pair of adults on the far left leaf tip: long handsome insects with snazzy black markings on their wings. Hopefully they will leave enough milkweed for the monarch butterflies.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Tree Cutter

In recent seasons, the tree in our neighbor's yard had fewer and fewer leaves. For a couple of years, it stood bare among its green neighbors. We worried every time there was a storm. This week, the tree cutters came with their chain saws and chippers. The boss called up directions to the brave soul dangling in the branches. They worked all day, deconstructing the lacy pattern that had spread itself across the sky. Goodbye tree. I know you had to go, but I will miss you.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Birdbath In the Ripley Garden

This week, the skies are gray, the news is all about hurricanes and the ground is sodden from weeks of rain. As an antidote, I share a sunny moment in my favorite of the Smithsonian gardens. Each curve of the walkway leads to a different little scene. Season to season, year to year, the flowers come and go as do the accouterments. There could be glass gazing balls, birdhouses or, in this case, a bird bath. Imagine yourself sitting on a bench in the dappled sunlight. Enjoy the leafy calmness.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Unfriendly Fence

Fences always get my attention. My eyes are drawn to the regimented repetition of pickets, boards or chain links. There are textures to explore; paint fresh or worn, perhaps rust. Sometimes a fence casts interesting shadows or tantalizes with broken glimpses of what lies beyond. Sometimes whatever is inside the fence (barking dogs, riotous blooms) tries to escape. The neglected paint and random holes of this fence are enough to establish an aura of sadness and defeat, but the sign's determined red letters and scolding words make this fence downright unfriendly.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Burning Man At the Renwick

Meet "Deep Thought," which sits, glowing from within, casting color-changing light and geometric shadows around the second floor of the Renwick Gallery. The soft chimes and deep metallic bongs of gamelan music transform the space into a calm retreat, a welcome respite from the vibes of anger and chaos emanating from the White House across the street. Yelena Filipchuck and Serge Beaulieu's laser-cut steel sculptures are part of a show that celebrates the ephemeral art that appears then disappears in the Nevada desert each August at the Burning Man festival. Although the first floor exhibits will come down this month, giant origami mushrooms, a ceiling-mounted light show, an elaborate temple and of course "Deep Thought" all await your visit until December.