30 thoughts on “Sailing Toward Summer

  1. Fantastic architecture
    The spiders are really busy this spring. We’ve got several multiple layered ones…like a 2 story condo unit?
    (There’s a second big ship in Galveston visiting now, I’ve heard. Hmmmm…)

    1. Big ship as in tall ship, or big cruise ship? I hadn’t heard anything about a tall ship showing up, but I’ve been fairly distracted.

      I found a cute little crab spider this week, tucked into a gone-to-seed thistle. I couldn’t help wondering if he thought he’d found some pre-fab housing. Then I learned that they aren’t web-weavers, but hunters. That’s probably what he was doing in the thistle — looking for lunch.

      1. Pre-fab housing. That’s hilarious and perfect. Maybe looking for the May Day pole celebration or sinko de mayo festivities? (Even Dairy Queen and one high dollar bridal attire store shaking maracas this year)
        Lots of spiders out even with the wind…good thing zika warnings in valley- on CDC travel warning list of places now.
        Not a tall ship, sorry. A Spanish galleon replica…and it’s already sailed off. DARN!

  2. This one has a little heebie jeebie factor for me…but then I am a confirmed arachnophobe and webs on anything gives me the creeps!! But otherwise it is a perfectly colorful little desert cactus!!

    1. I”m becoming less phobic about the critters themselves, although I’m not at all fond of walking into an unseen web. Since you’re no their biggest fan, I’ll spare you the details of a really cool one I found.

      I was surprised to find that the tunas of this cactus are edible, too. I have a friend who used to collect prickly pear tunas to make jelly, but she’s given it up. It was a long, draw-out process, and she got to the point where all those stickers were more trouble than the fruit was worth.

      1. There is a species of prickly pair which is spineless … er … without spines. There’s a big wad of it in a vacant lot next to a house that I pass on route to the VA clinic.

        1. It’s a great plant. I saved a nice piece from the hill country place that is no more, and over the years it’s grown and thrived. I have seven pots of it now, and have given away innumerable cuttings. Some even traveled to South Carolina.

          The only real trick is to let the pads dry after breaking them off. They need to suberize, so they don’t rot. After that? Stick them in the ground, and watch them grow. It doesn’t seem to make any difference when they’re trimmed.

      2. Well the only prickly pear concoction I have had was delicious….a prickly pear margarita. It was at a restaurant called The Canyon in Ft. Lauderdale and they put the prickly pear in Tequila and the infusion was a lovely pale peachy pink color. Still the best Margarita I have had.

      3. When I was a child in Hawaii, I collected spiders from under the houses which were raised up from the ground. Did not develop a fear of them until I was in my early teens when I nearly walked into a poisonous spider web…stopped by a friend who was paying more attention than I was as we were hiking along. Then the dreams started!!

    1. When I saw it, I remembered the opening lines of Linda Bierd’s poem about the unfortunate end of the Franklin expedition in the Arctic. The poem takes its title from the ship’s name: “Erebus.”

      Even in the rigging, there is chaos,
      the foremast and mainmast square-rigged,
      the mizzenmast and jibs fore-and-aft rigged, so their lines
      cut in at slants, sharp and terrifying…

      I’d never seen a square-rigged cactus before, that’s for sure.

    1. It is a pretty thing, but I’m not sure I could grow it either, Jeanie. I suspect we’re far too wet and humid here. I found it farther north and west, in the hill country, and was delighted to see it. I’ve seen photos, but I don’t believe I’d ever found it in the wild. Some people call it Christmas cactus because of the red and green combination, but it’s quite different from our traditional Christmas cactus.

      I’m sure happy to see you around — don’t rush things. Healing takes time, even when everything is going well.

  3. I’ve a soft spot for cacti which means I shouldn’t get too close, I guess. Funny, I see opuntia fruit in the market but despite my love of them (or maybe because) I am not drawn to eat one. Wonderful protective spines.

    Of course, a person with your sailing connection would see rigging in the webbing here and now whenever I see spider webs I will also.

    1. Even if you’re not going to cook some up, I think you’d enjoy this post by the folks at Four String Farm. On the other hand, once you read the post, you may decide to give them a try.

      I’ve never seen webbing as rigging before, and probably wouldn’t have here, had it not been for the spines. It was the combination of the two that reminded me of a square-rigger. Just like steam locomotives, there’s something about a tall ship that stirs the imagination. I even managed an experience of life in the rigging once, aboard Galveston’s tall ship, Elissa.

  4. You’re getting tricky with your titles! The last one, I wondered if someone had died. Yes, and its life had purpose, and through you, it lives on in our memories. This one, of course I pictured a Winslow Homer image of a sail full of wind! Wrong!
    The comments are quite interesting on this one!

    1. Titles are great fun. Sometimes I’ll get a title first, and then come up with something to go with it. I suppose that’s a bit of a parallel to your way of looking at white space, and getting a hunch about how it should be filled up.

      The more I think about it, the more I’m intrigued by the fact that I’ve never seen webbing as either sails or rigging. It was the addition of the spines, and the crossing of the horizontal and vertical lines that fairly shouted, “Square-rigger!” There’s your geometry at play again.

  5. Legends in several cultures, Ancient Greek (Arachne) as well as Navajo (Spider Grandmother) come immediately to mind, connect the art of weaving to spiders, but your picture made me wonder if knitting couldn’t be connected to spiders, too. Of course, as you know, in my world, knitting is connected to practically everything! LOL!

    The John Masefield poem, “Sea Fever” also comes to mind. I suspect you empathize not a little with those sentiments.

    1. I love “Sea Fever.” It was one of those poems we were made to memorize in school, and it appealed to me even then — long before I’d seen more water than the occasional river.

      I couldn’t figure out what it was about the photo that reminded me of your knitting, but I finally got it. All of those spines sticking out on the cactus remind me of the short little straight needles that poke out of some of your projects: markers, maybe? Mom used them, too. As for the web, it might be rigging, but it might be an undone pull skein. I saw one of those somewhere, recently.

    1. I don’t think it’s limited imagination at all,Tina. It’s just that I’ve spent so much time varnishing masts, climbing masts, adjusting mast rigging, trying to figure out why the danged sail won’t go up the mast — well,you get the point. I tend to see masts in strange places — although this may have been the strangest. I’m glad you liked it.

  6. And it is about to capture them! Sort of like the old British impressment crews that wandered around picking up drunk sailors. In this case, I am not too sure on what kind of sailors they will be after they have had all of the juice sucked out of them. Fun photo. –Curt

    1. More than a few sailors have had all the juice sucked out of them one way or another; it’s a grand old tradition.

      Have you ever read anything by Henry Abbey? He wrote one really cool poem linking land and sea, called “What Do We Plant?” A cactus isn’t a tree, of course, but I think your PNW connections made me remember it.

      What do we plant when we plant the tree?
      We plant the ship that will cross the sea,
      We plant the mast to carry the sails,
      We plant the planks to withstand the gales-
      The keel, the keelson, and beam and knee-
      We plant the ship when we plant the tree.

      1. I suspect I would not be happy when waking up from drinking too much to discover I was out of port and on my way who knows where. I think that would change my drinking habits if I were a sailor! Haven’t read the poem, but it is appropriate, even more so in the days of the great sailing ships. –Curt

  7. Nice find, Linda! Love the way the spiders decorate this cactus with delicate strands, too. The linked article indicated these things are edible. Have you ever tried one??

    1. I’ve had jelly made from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, but never have sampled this. Even my friends who are given to using native berries, cactus, and such in their cooking haven’t tried this one, but it’s mostly because it grows farther west. We can use native persimmons, agarita berries, dewberries, and plums, but not this particular gem.

      I’m pretty sure this was my first time to see it growing. I spent a weekend in the hill country, and found a lot of plants I’ve never seen before — many of which I still haven’t identified.

  8. You have a finely honed ability to see connections that others wouldn’t ever dream. It’s funny I finally got over here today because I’ve been looking at cacti for hours, putting together a post about the Arizona trip that is surely way too long. But what the hell, I think it’s done. I bet this little guy grows at Organ Pipe NM too, but I wasn’t there long enough to see more than a few varieties really. It was amazing, as you know plant life is.

    1. I just skimmed your post, and thought, “Well, this one is going to take a bit more time than a lunch break!” I was startled and intrigued by one thing you said: ” I was drawn to this mysterious tree and would have liked to sit under it for an hour, but I don’t usually have that luxury when traveling.” My first thought was of my detour into the Pond Creek wildlife refuge in Arkansas, where I sat among the butterflies and listened to their wings flap. Of course, I know I travel differently than a lot of people. Maybe most people. I’m always adjusting and readjusting my “schedule” to make room for new delights that pop up.

      I found a great cactus/flower identification site with thumbnails for that area, and this cactus is listed. The photo made me laugh. It looks as though it was taken in black and white but I think the plant must be dormant — or dead. (Add; after a better look, I see a little green, and some fruits.)

  9. What an astonishing plant, I just loved your creative…as ever, take on it. Sure does look like a ship. I have a long term fascination with cacti, I even grew some from seed once. I admire their total and utter resilience. xxx

    1. From seed!?! That’s impressive, Dina. I absolutely must do some repotting of my cacti. They love my balcony, but they’re so happy they’re outgrowing their pots. The prickly pear are easy enough to trim back, but I have two that are columnar, and they need bigger pots.

      You’re right about their resilience — but I had to learn the lesson about overwatering. They can deal with cold, and drought, and browsing by deer, but overwatering? Not so much.

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