Summer Daze

I love it when I’ve spent enough time looking closely at plants that they imprint on my brain and when I close my eyes, the shapes are present in the darkness. The stalks and veins, the rippled edges, the aura of growth. I compulsively take pictures of plants and that forces me to look closer at their shapes. For me, this is such a soothing thing. I identify with plants because they grow even though they’re rooted.

Summer ink sketch by Joy Murray

My son told me he was out walking and over heard three young men who looked very much a part of urban culture, sagging pants, expensive shoes, oversized shirts.

One said to the other two, “Have you ever hugged a tree?”


“I hugged a tree the other day, and it felt like so cool. I mean, I felt really good afterwards, like I was high.”

“That’s cool man.”

“Yeah, mane. I guess those hippie-fucks were right.”

My son told the story to me after the magnolia tree next door got “trimmed” by the city — a straight brutal cut taking off half the tree so the power lines would not be damaged if a branch fell in a storm. They lopped off the lower limbs too, the ones I could touch and photograph from my wheelchair. It hurts me in a way that is unreasonable for a city dweller. But my son’s story cheered me up, glad there are tree huggers growing within the city. I just wish hippie fucks were in charge of training the city workers in tree trimming. That we had a city aesthetic that respected the beauty and necessity of trees.

Magnolia Pod by Joy Murray 2017

My neighbor magnolia (over 100 years old, I think) is still huggable. I can’t hug it because the roots prevent my wheelchair from getting close enough. But I sit under it’s remaining limbs and I’ll still collect it’s pods, though the branches are now to high for me to photograph it’s flowers. There are other beloved magnolias in the neighborhood I can visit and touch. My neighbor tree will survive and maybe one day, some distraught young person will hug it, or climb it, to be still and let nature hug them.

Magnolia bud

It’s been a hot week, but it started raining last night and continued through most of the morning. It let up for a bit, the sky still gray and rumbling. But I got out on the porch and took these pictures.

Variegated canna leaf with a Purple Passion plant in the back ground, and a little heart shaped leaf from the moonflower vine
Caladium Angel Wing

I took these yesterday, when it was hot and the sky was a clear hazy blue:

Red Dragon’s Breath, Purple Salvo, and 4 headed dragon, guardian of the porch
Double petal hibiscus

Almost every time I look at the pink hibiscus in the yard, there is a bee curled around the stamen, hidden deep in the flower. This photo caught one about to alight and find delight and sustenance in the brief bloom:

Perennial hibiscus and bumble bee

Ahh, summer. It gives so many gifts. A feast for the eyes and the soul.

How Life Passed Through Me by Joy Murray


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