Proust and a Palo Verde Tree

You know how it goes. You start with one thing, and that leads to something else, and you end up somewhere you didn’t expect to be.

I started with a photo of a forest clearing (actually it is in the Arizona desert ‘highlands’ and the saguaro cactus is a clue that it isn’t a traditional forest – but the Palo Verde tree in bloom makes it seem foresty.) Then I ran the photo past a few filters to see what might pop out. I overlaid a quote by Marcel Proust to the original photo because it seemed to fit.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
– Marcel Proust –

Then, because Proust said a lot of interesting things, his words kind of slipped in with the rest of the filtered photos.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
– Marcel Proust

Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.
– Marcel Proust –

Like many intellectuals, he was incapable of saying a simple thing in a simple way.
– Marcel Proust –

Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have of them.
– Marcel Proust –

There is no one, no matter how wise he is, who has not in his youth said things or done things that are so unpleasant to recall in later life that he would expunge them entirely from his memory if that were possible.
– Marcel Proust –

One cannot change, that is to say become a different person, while continuing to acquiesce to the feelings of the person one has ceased to be.
– Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way –

The Palo Verde is the State Tree of Arizona. Like life, it is kind of messy. It can shed it’s leaves twice a year and it creates a blizzard of yellow ‘debris’ when it drops it’s flowers. The flowers are pollinated by bees. You might see as many as 20 species of bees at the tree at one time if you are brave enough to stand under a whole tree that is buzzing. (There are more than 1,000 species of bees in southern Arizona.)

French novelist Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922) is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Many of his observations, like the ones above, seem to be as applicable today as they must have been when he wrote them. What say you?

This, That and the Other #3

Mystery Macro. The Car Guy was playing with the macro (close-up) setting on my little Panasonic camera. What do you think he took a picture of? Hint, he was sitting at his desk, enjoying his breakfast beverage.  (Answer at the end of this post).

The Quippery

Fun with fruit – Topaz Studio Rembrandt filter

Sometimes you don’t have what you thought you had, but what you got was pretty good… In this case, the landscaper told us he had planted a navel orange tree, and it turns out we probably have a tangelo. Seedless fruit, a bit hard to peel, with a distinctive bump on the top – a nice fruit for breakfast.

Answer to the Mystery Macro – the handle of a black coffee mug with reflections from the window.

Springtime Blooms – Arizona and Alberta

My Place in the World is in the Garden with my camera!

The best part about living part time in Arizona is that I get to experience spring twice! In April, when Alberta might still be experiencing snow storms, our Arizona home is at the height of spring blooming!

pink flowers Arizona
Olneya tesota – Ironwood tree

We have a large old Ironwood tree on our property. It is estimated that these trees can live for hundreds and hundreds of years. It sheds its leaves annually just before it blooms. The flowers are pea like (because it is a member of that family) and the entire tree becomes a dusky pink colour during full bloom.

white flowers Arizona
Carnegiea gigantea – Saguaro Cactus

The Ironwood often serves as a backdrop to the giant Saguaro cactus. The Saguaro can live for 150 to 200 years and it can grow 40 to 60 ft tall (12 to 18 meters). It is very slow growing and can be decades old before it sprouts arms or blooms.

yellow flowers Arizona
Opuntia – Prickly Pear Cactus

The Prickly Pear cactus is the ‘rat’ of the neighbourhood for the simple reason that the resident rodents live in holes under the prickly shelter of this plant. We have a large specimen that isn’t actually on our property, but it thinks it should be. We have to carefully ‘prune’ it off our property every few years.

white flowers Arizona
Trichocereus candicans – Argentine Giant

My favourite cactus is the Argentine Giant. It is a common enough looking cactus with multiple stems up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall. The wow factor is when it blooms. The white flowers can be 6 to 8 inches across (15 to 20 cm). The flowers come out at night, and only last about 24 hours.

A week after my Argentine Giant bloomed, I was back in Alberta where an extremely long and cold winter had finally ended. The last of the snow had just melted, and the earth quickly exploded with greenery.

blue white flower Alberta
Puschkinia libanotica – Striped Squill

The first flower to bloom was the Striped Squill, a starry pale blue and white flower that is only about 4 inches (10 cm) tall.

blue flower Alberta
Scilla siberica – Siberian Squill

Another squill, the Siberian Squill, mingles with the Striped ones. Neither Squill seem anxious to expand their territory much, but they might simply be unable to compete with the other residents in that location – the prolific Grape hyacinths (Muscari).

yellow flower Alberta
Forsythia Northern Gold

The only other flower blooming right now is a bush – the Forsythia Northern Gold. I’m expecting great things from this fast growing bush. In addition to spectacular early blooms, it should help a lot with the task of masking the silvery wall of The Car Guy’s new quonset metal garage.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Place in the World.

What blooms in your part of the world each spring?