the Magnificents

the Magnificents

I felt these birds before I saw them, a rustle of wind and a presence over my shoulder. When I looked up, I didn’t have a name for them, so I broke out into a full-body sweat, as if my every pore were calling out to them. I dubbed them the Goosebumps Bird, but later I learned that their real name is the Magnificent Frigatebird, a worthy title for a beast whose very Is-ness can make an otherwise solid human go liquid.

Madonna and child

Madonna and Child


mother dragonfly

Dragonfly lays her eggs on a leafy raft in the precarious place between sky and lake. Her long sleek body is an exclamation point punctuating the day.

Happy Solstice!

happy solstice

The longest day of the year is a good day for photosynthesis. I see how the sun sculpts the leaf and it cracks me open like the water lily.

the Water Lily and the Wallflower

frog and lotus

My frog hunting skills are really taking me places.


Peace egret

Peace to all living things, including you, me, the great egret, and the unsuspecting fish darting between the great egret’s reedy legs.

Big Bang

Big Bang

I was curious to see what sparklers would look like when I photographed them. Here’s what they look like: like a supernova sea urchin, like enthusiasm, like fractals, like the Big Bang, like an irrepressible idea.

Dragonfly Season

dragonfly season





Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damescena) and Leaf Insect (Phyllium philippinicum)

Ode to Common Things

homage to margaret bourke white

Ode to Common Things
by Pablo Neruda

I have a crazy,
crazy love of things.
I like pliers,
and scissors.
I love
and bowls –
not to speak, or course,
of hats.
I love
all things,
not just
the grandest,
small –
and flower vases.
Oh yes,
the planet
is sublime!
It’s full of pipes
through tobacco smoke,
and keys
and salt shakers –
I mean,
that is made
by the hand of man, every little thing:
shapely shoes,
and fabric,
and each new
bloodless birth
of gold,
carpenter’s nails,
clocks, compasses,
coins, and the so-soft
softness of chairs.
Mankind has
oh so many
Built them of wool
and of wood,
of glass and
of rope:
ships, and stairways.
I love
not because they are
or sweet-smelling
but because,
I don’t know,
this ocean is yours,
and mine;
these buttons
and wheels
and little
fans upon
whose feathers
love has scattered
its blossoms
glasses, knives and
scissors –
all bear
the trace
of someone’s fingers
on their handle or surface,
the trace of a distant hand
in the depths of forgetfulness.
I pause in houses,
streets and
touching things,
identifying objects
that I secretly covet;
this one because it rings,
that one because
it’s as soft
as the softness of a woman’s hip,
that one there for its deep-sea color,
and that one for its velvet feel.
O irrevocable
of things:
no one can say
that I loved
or the plants of the jungle and the field,
that I loved
those things that leap and climb, desire, and survive.
It’s not true:
many things conspired
to tell me the whole story.
Not only did they touch me,
or my hand touched them:
they were
so close
that they were a part
of my being,
they were so alive with me
that they lived half my life
and will die half my death.

Birds of a Feather

birds of a feather

Treble clef

Treble clef


Attachment-1 (51)

Egret with Mustache

egret with mustache


Banana Trees by Becky Jaffe

Bananas and humans have roughly 50% of our DNA in common, despite the fact that bananas are triploid (having three sets of genes) and humans are diploid (having two sets of genes). On the molecular level, on the level of DNA, we are intertwined.

The structure on the left is the banana flower, often called the “heart” of the banana.


bald eagle pair

In the Bicentennial celebration of 1976, I attended the Boston parade dressed as a bald eagle, a very patriotic toddler indeed. I was told at the time that the bald eagle I was impersonating had gone extinct. I didn’t bother to update this knowledge until several decades later, when I was gobsmacked to stumble across one that was very much alive. It was like seeing a dodo or a woolly mammoth perched in the branches. In my eyes the bald eagle is still the picture of resilience, a creature capable of defying extinction itself, a phoenix among beasts.

Mohawk Bird (Pterodactyl punkrockius)


Up and Down

Attachment-1 (50)

Here’s looking at you

scarlet macaw pair

Oh! Canada

Heron pair

Backside of a Peacock

peacock backside

Even the backside of a peacock is a work of art. The biosphere is a continuing marvel. Happy Earth Day!

L’chaim! To life!


Rainbow grasshopper

Rainbow grasshopper

The far-fetched, the improbable, and the whimsical are at play in the leaf litter.

Palm Tree

Palm Tree by Becky Jaffe