A World Adrift


After a combination of wind and currents drove floating algae into one corner of a San Bernard Refuge pond, it smoothed the edges, creating a noticeable separation between the mass of algae and the clearer pond water. 

The sight reminded me of photos of Earth taken from space. In those images, the oceans’ blues predominate. Here, the green of an imaginary planet suggests the beauty of life and growth in a ‘world’ formed by unseen forces.


Comments always are welcome.

53 thoughts on “A World Adrift

    1. It is. I keep a refrigerator magnet bearing these words from Georgia O’Keeffe close at hand: “Take time to look.” If we don’t look, we can’t see.

    1. I was surprised by the sharpness of that line of demarcation. The various pond plants usually are considerably ‘blobbier.’ Finding this was a real treat.

  1. It is a little reminiscent of the view of the earth from outer space; this blue dot, this only home we have. You would think we could take a little more care of it, wouldn’t you?

    1. Some do; many try. I’ve wondered from time to time whether people’s experiences of nature during this pandemic might not sensitize them to the value of the natural world, and to the threats against it. I suppose we’ll have to wait to see how things develop, but one can always hope.

  2. Great timing, on the heels of the terrifically exciting successful launch of Crew Dragon and docking with the ISS, an ongoing reminder of positive achievement at a time of world and national darkness. I can’t wait to see NEW images of “earthrise” taken from the moon in the near future. Your image, a wonderful reminder of optimism. Thanks.

    1. That launch and docking was exciting, wasn’t it? I still remember walking outside to look at the moon when the first landing took place in 1969. I was completely caught up in the events, and it started a long fascination with space flight. Now, I drive past the Johnson Space Center every day, and run into friends who work at NASA at the grocery store. What a world!

  3. It does look like a space shot of earth. Algae itself is its own little world. Right now being outside and among little natural worlds helps with perspective. Nice you noticed – so many would have passed it by.

    1. We’re so lucky to have so much natural beauty around us — even if we’ve moved into the season called “Get out early and stay out late, and ignore as much of the middle as you can.” As for noticing, I’m not sure I would have noticed this five years ago — or even three. Learning to ‘see’ is as much a process as learning to use a camera — and just as interesting.

      1. Growing up here, the middle of the summer day was always reading time. Some said siesta others said “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out”
        It’s just too early – too early – to be forced back inside…get ready for the onslaught and traffic, the boardwalk opens – arrrgh. summer is going to happen.

    1. I’ve always been fascinated by those ‘earthrise’ photos. Maybe that’s part of the reason I spotted this. I’d actually hiked up to the pond to look for waterfowl. When I didn’t find anything other than a cluster of coots, I started browsing the landscape, and there it was. You just never know.

      1. Forgive me for being picky, but that the title was actually “A-Soalin’,” even though the reference was indeed to “soul cake.” And what a great song!

        1. Ha! I just looked at the lyrics, and both spellings appear, and of course the reference is to the old custom of seeking ‘soul cakes’ on All Soul’s Day. Still, you’re exactly right about the title. There goes half a century of being wrong, down the drain!

    1. What a lovely vision, Gary! We’re almost past the season of more-greens-than-you-can-count, but the rice fields on FM 2004 still are shining and vibrant, and a lot of the trees — like in your yard — haven’t gotten dusty and dull yet. Like this algae, they’re a pleasure to see.

      1. Funny how things happen Linda. I had just posted today’s blog post and was checking my notifications. As I read your reply the black-bellied whistling ducks flew over… and yes you called it. After studying the description online I could see all of the markings that I’d missed before. Thanks.

    1. I’d tried several titles, but none was just right. Then, this one came to me “out of nowhere,” as we say. I thought it worked well, and I’m glad you do, too.

    1. If we can have Planet Earth, we surely could have Planet Algae, don’t you think? I do love the flowers, but occasionally a different sort of natural beauty vies for attention.

    1. Given people’s tendency to see different things in essentially abstract images, isn’t it interesting how many people had the same general impression with this one? ‘Planet’ and ‘earth’ are deeply embedded in our consciousness.

  4. Oh, you were definitely in the right place at the right time with this one, Linda! It almost looks like the “planet” portion was cut with scissors held by an extremely sure hand!

    1. It does look like it could be an Earth Day poster created in a grade school art class, doesn’t it? What struck me even at the time was how neat and trim it was. Usually the pond plants are much messier, and even the pollen or duckweed gets swirled around. I like the swirls, but this was quite striking.

    1. I was up in the air, but only by a few feet, atop a levee. This photo surely confirms that bit of advice — for photographers, but also for everyone: look up, look down, look all around.

    1. What a nice thing to say, GP. ‘Unique’ and ‘beautiful’ certainly beat ‘weird’ and ‘wacky’ — although I suspect those last two words could apply, too!

  5. As global warming melts the polar ice caps, your picture is a small reminder that our planet is misnamed. Ours is truly a water world. Instead of “Earth” we should call it “Ocean.”

    1. I suppose part of the solution to the problem of our human drifting is identifying the forces that are impinging upon us. For the algae, water and wind are obvious, but who knows what influence was exerted by the waterfowl, underwater growth, and so on? I’ve heard that, on Facebook, it used to be common to describe things by saying, “It’s complicated.” It sure is in our world.

      It was an unusual sight. I’m glad I came across it, and I’m glad you like it.

    1. Indeed, they are. I love the big horizons — the ones found on the ocean or the prairie — but there are smaller and closer horizons that are just as satisfying.

    1. That made me laugh, Tina. A macro image of the earth as a whole seems like an impossibility — but here, at least, a section of a little world does give that impression.

  6. I can only echo what others have said about the resemblance to a view of earth from space. It makes one wonder about the forces that cause similar shapes in massive planets and little algae blooms.

    1. I did a little reading about those forces, and didn’t understand most of it, but it certainly is interesting. The Fibonacci spiral’s another example: both the obvious ones like snail shells and seashells, and the less obvious, like sunflower seed heads. There’s no question that these spirals and arcs are pleasing to the eye; I’m glad I found this one.

  7. Yeah kind of a microcosm of what you’d see from aloft! Our planet is a water planet and I guess we are all emotionally tied somehow to those views of greens and blues. I find I am anytime I am in the swamp looking at blue water…sometimes reflected sky…and unnaturally bright green algae or duck weed. Draws us like the ocean does.

    1. Blue and green is ubiquitous in nature, and so pleasing. I’ve written (in comments, at least) about the lesson my grandmother taught me, back in the days when I thought blue and green didn’t ‘go together.’ She took me outdoors, showed me the trees against the sky, and asked if I thought they looked nice together. Of course they did, and I stopped grumping about the blue and green plaid dress my mother was making for me!

  8. Add me to the list of folks who saw this as an aerial view of the planet. I don’t know why, well I do actually understanding the color wheel, that people often feel that green and blue don’t complement each other. This is very much a harmonious image and I am glad that you took the time to look and then share it.

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