Egrets, Herons, Cranes and storks are often confused in folklore and real life. These long legged wading birds alternate between elegant graceful shallow water walking to awkward wing flapping squawks. The fascination with them is real. Does it matter which one is which in the world of folklore? Some stories are generalized and some are very specific such as the stories of storks delivering babies even though many times the stork very closely resembles a great white egret.
The Chickadees have once again gathered in the branches of the old pine and are joyfully watching the antics of Emily, the Great White Egret, as she gleefully stirs up the water in the spring fed pool at the base of the Valley. Emily’s sleek white feathers and bright yellow-orange beak contrasts beautifully with the crystal blue water. Emily is having a fine time churning up the water and making the droplets fly all around as she goes about her fishing exhibition.
Up in the old pine tree, the chickadees can be heard chattering away. They are having a fine discussion of which symbol of folklore Emily must be an example. Caroljean Chickadee is leading the chatter as usual but Cindy and Charley are not hesitant to throw in their two cents worth. Celeste Chickadee is pondering whether Emily will make a great model for the Chickadee origami-making group. They are working up to 1000 origami birds and are always looking for inspiration.
Oblivious to the chatter, Emily goes on slowly making her way through the tall grasses on the edge of the Valley pool and trying to decide to stay here or follow the stream from the pool on down through the Valley to the river beyond. In no great hurry to decide, Emily goes on gently splashing the droplets into the air with each dip of her beak as her long legs quietly lift up through the water with each elegant step.
Vivaldi’s Spring seemed appropriate music to go with all the ice formations lining the walls of the roadways surrounding Nashville. The ice formations were quite spectacular during the polar vortex. Hopefully, spring is on the way. I’ve had enough cold for one year!
“Its not what you look at that matters, its what you see.”—Henry David Thoreau (from Creatingminds.org)
Taking the time to simply observe surroundings can lead to some delightful surprises. Artist’s visual skills will see the pattern or the image in unusual places every time. Designs in frost on the window, patterns in park benches, faces in trees, objects in clouds, an artist will spot the art in all quickly. Mere mortals miss what is plain to the artist.
Pbase.com sponsors The Tree Gallery where artists and photographers can submit unusual tree art, naturally occurring or touched by the artist’s hand. The trees in the gallery are amazing. One fascinating photo is an example of the phenomenon of art made my Mother Nature. “Riverside Cottonwood” by Steve Grooms is particularly bittersweet. He discovered the tree roots of a cottonwood tree recently exposed by floodwaters and finds the art in the roots. He takes the photograph that shares this unusual sight with others. A year later the tree topples over into the Mississippi River. The artist captured the vision before Mother Nature took over and it was lost forever.
The websitePatternity focuses on seeing pattern all around in everyday places. The caption on the website reads, “seeing pattern everywhere—from the mundane to the magnificent.” Take a look at the photographs on Patternity to see how surrounded we are by pattern. Suddenly, a stack of chairs takes on a different feeling. A row of windows becomes a pattern to an artist’s eye. Patterns are all around us on a daily basis.
“This is part of what I mean about looking at the world with wonderment,” state authors Andy and Ali of the website ctrl-alt-travel. A look at the website reveals many instances of finding the art in the mundane. A shot of the knots in a rope, spikes in the street, park benches, art is everywhere if we take the time to look.
When in need of inspiration, observing surroundings for odd little patterns and designs is a fun game to play. Waiting in line? Play “spot the art.” Left on hold? Play “spot the art.” You never know what you might find. There are always wonderful new discoveries out there waiting to be spotted.
The tree heart is in a row of trees lining the drive to the Ocala Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida. The other shot is the “knee” of a cypress tree.