Ground Stop


While Wilmington and Charleston airports briefly closed due to Hurricane Florence, Houston airports have been instituting ground stops because of severe thunderstorms.

Irritating as a ground stop may be for travelers, there’s a time to wait things out. Here, a seed from green milkweed (Asclepias viridis) settles to ground and prepares to wait out the rain that interrupted its own flight.


Comments always are welcome.


Circling Around to Autumn

Green milkweed (Asclepias viridis)


More often than not, the release of milkweed seeds is straightforward: a pod splits, then opens. Over time, wind, insects, birds, or the occasional human hand help to send the seeds on their way.

But even a straightforward process can have its moments. Here, a pair of apparently fluff-connected pods betokens a new season as the cycle of life rolls on.


Comments always are welcome.


Fan Dance


How, why, or even if the blades of this dwarf palmetto leaf had been trimmed by a human hand was impossible to say.

Tucked away in the depths of a local nature center, far from any path and obviously outside the areas where landscaping crews sometimes work, the Sabal minor leaf seemed mysterious and improbable. Anyone who decided to clip its normally pointed tips, even as a joke, would have had to stand ankle deep in mud, and palmettos are tough plants — cutting the tips so evenly would have been difficult at best.

Whatever the explanation — natural variation or attempted art — I like the graceful curve of the blades against the sky. They help to transform the leaf into a very fancy fan, indeed — albeit one poorly suited for easing summer heat.


Comments always are welcome.