Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Certain Color of Blue

Desert bluebells are blooming in my front yard now, gracing the landscape with a certain color blue that I've found impossible to capture on film, digital media or in print. There must be a certain wavelength of light that just can't be translated by technology, probably leaning towards the ultraviolet, that gives these flowers a certain pizzazz only perceptible to the naked eye. The color blue is often associated with calm or sadness, but this brilliant hue does quite the opposite for me; I find it energizing and joyful. And so, this time of year, part of my morning ritual is to take a few moment to admire this perfect cerulean, this pure indigo light splashing across the rocks.

Here are a few other attempts to bring this azure to the web via my digital camera. But the best and only real way to experience this transformative color is to find these wildflowers blooming somewhere.

This species is Phacelia campanularia, and is related to forget-me-nots. You can find them in the wild, especially in desert canyons in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in southern Arizona and California. The seeds are used in commercial desert wildflower mixes along with other showy annuals like owl clover, lupines, Mexican poppy and fiddlenecks.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rooftop View

Looking out the 6th floor window at St. Joseph's Hospital yesterday, I was awed by a peculiar attention to detail. Someone had been thoughtful enough to arrange different colored rocks on the rooftop in a series of waves, lifting an otherwise industrial scene to the status of art. Beyond the rooftop, towers of Phoenix obscure the distant geological magic of Papago Buttes, outcrops of wind-pocked red sandstone rising from an otherwise flat landscape.

Even more curious is the window sized gallery photo of the Grand Canyon on the wall opposite the rooftop view. Below, I've substituted with a photo of my own taken a few years ago when actually looking across the landscape of Grand Canyon above Tanner Wash.

Which way would you rather look? Which is greater art, rooftop or Canyon? (By this I mean the Grand Canyon itself, not the photo.) And where did those lovely dark river polished rocks come from, I wonder?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Some days I need a little sign of hope for the world. Here is what I found today.

Grass growing through the asphalt.