Florals

More macro/closeup photography from my tiny photo project. Don’t forget to follow me on instagram to see more of this project, as well as pictures of my cat wearing a bandanna, if you are so inclined. He’s really cute. @constantholidayfilms

 

Floral Studies

Some new additions to my tiny photo project – nature photography in close-up.

 

From a creamy white rose…

rose

 

To a scarlet lily. I love that you can actually see the texture of the black spots on the waxy red petals.

lily

 

and the austere whiteness of a half-opened magnolia blossom. The interior looks like an exotic sea creature to me. Maybe I need to go to the beach?

magnolia

Photo of the Day: All Souls

Throwback photo day to the Days of the Dead flower markets in Valledodid, Mexico.

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For the week leading up to the Days of the Dead, the markets are filled with thousands – hundreds of thousands, probably – of flowers, especially chrysanthamums and celosia, that will be used to deck the family tombs on All Soul’s Day. Every stall is is laden with blooms, and¬†special masses said in the cemeteries and people bring candles and offerings, many spending¬†the night in prayer, honoring their loved ones.

The morning after All Souls all these flowers had vanished, and the shopkeepers were back to regular life, with just a few stray petals being swept aside by the breeze. The market, like life, goes on – but the veil between the two worlds seems thinner for a while…

 

The Universal Language

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Several years ago, when I first moved to Atlanta, I had to find an apartment, one that would take not only me but the dog I then had, a 90-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback that was the very definition of a big dog. Most apartments had rules that dogs could not exceed 15 pounds, roughly the size of my dog’s left rear leg, so I had to look outside the cool neighborhoods and wound up in heavily immigrant area¬†off Buford Highway, living in an apartment complex that was about 90% Mexican.

At the time, my Spanish was a few degrees less horrible than it is now, but wasn’t anything you would call “conversational” unless your idea of conversation involved a lot of grunting and gesturing, so I didn’t talk to my neighbors much, but I followed along with the activities of the complex, which was an almost¬†perfect slice of Mexico carved out and dropped 500 miles north, right down to the shy woman who came door-to-door every Thursday selling homemade tamales (they were fantastic), the guy who ran a Mexican lottery out of his apartment, and the paleta man who came along selling ice creams on steamy summer afternoons. I was involved¬†with everyone – broken spanish, grunting, gesturing – and if things went wrong and I wound up with a mango paleta instead of a strawberry one, well, at least I still had ice cream.

I had one interaction when I was there that has always stuck with me – I can picture it in my head to this day.¬†¬†It’s a bit weird to call it an interaction, since it was just a conversation I observed while sitting on the balcony, but I became just as invested in it as the speaker –

Two men were standing out by their van, and one of them began telling the other a long, involved story. The second listened with interest, and then more interest, and started egging the first speaker on. To me, it sounded like this:

Man 1: “spanish spanish spanish spanish, si?”

Man 2: “si, si.”

Man 1: “spanish spanish spanish…. spanish spanish”

Man 2 : (amused) “heh, heh… si, claro… vaya…” (heh, I get it, go on…”)

And I suddenly realized – based on nothing but body language and the tone of their voices – hey… wait a minute...he’s telling a joke!

And I watched, fascinated, as Man 1 continued the setup, with Man 2 getting more and more amused, and right when you would expect it, Man 1 burst out with, “spanish spanish spanish…MUCHACHOS!!!!” and both of them absolutely lost it, laughing so hard they were pounding on the side of the van and there were tears streaming down their faces. And I burst out giggling as well – not because I understood the joke; to this day I have no idea what they talked about – but just from their infectious merriment and my pleasure in having followed along. I felt like I’d tapped into some deep universal commonality, but instead of some mystical, serious¬†revelation I found…giggles.

Two friends making each other laugh.

The best type of language there is.

 

*photo above of backlit Cosmos flowers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which has nothing at all to do with today’s story. Sorry about that. I’ll eat a tamale later, though.