Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flowers on the Brain

View near Glacier Point

We just returned from a trip to California and Yosemite National Park. It was all wonderful and interesting. Of course, some of us were looking at birds in great detail and we found some fascinating ones. Our first full day there, we hiked from Glacier Point to  Illilouette Falls - a 5 hour trip with a 1200 foot drop to start off (and you know what that means for the "back"), and the start was at about 7000 feet. It wasn't the best idea for two relative flatlanders before much acclimating, but we did survive. And one of the very best things about the hike was the chorus of Fox Sparrows all around us. We could hear at least 5 singing at any moment, along with lots of other birds. But the Fox Sparrows were incredible in their virtuosity and richness. They also looked quite different from their larger and lighter-colored cousins we see here in the northeast during migration (if we are very lucky). Not many watercolor sketches were completed - much hiking with others, birding with other(s), and general busyness. Maybe now that I am home...
CA Poppies and Miniature Lupines
But, I digress. The thing that really grabbed me most was the abundance of wildflowers, many that were completely new to me. Every trail was lined with wonderful little gems.       
Indian Pink

Mustang Clover

Violet species
Lily species
There were many I could not identify with the smaller field guides, and I didn't want to carry around the giant ones that would actually have been more useful. Made me think (as I do on every trip I take) that I would love a digital field guide to the plants of a region that I could load onto my laptop for trips such as this one. I may have to figure this out. There is an online guide to flora of California that I will use at home to make some more IDs, but we didn't have internet service up there in the mountains.

As these lovely flower images danced around in my head while we prepared to leave, I happened to see a couple of huge posters in the San Francisco airport about a show of Josef Frank's work. Two huge cases of Frank's fabric and design work was located in the International Terminal. What a fantastic exhibit to have at an airport - the place of Eternal Waiting. Knocked me out!!! He used mostly botanical images and transformed them into gorgeous designs for fabrics and other household goods. Here are some of the images I found online later.

Several of these were on display. Almost worth a trip to the SF Airport just to see it. A Google search on his name turned up all kinds of cool information and images. Once again, my ignorance of amazing things astounds me! Now I am experimenting with using plant images from my travels as well as from my garden. To be revealed after some more playtime.