All my best lies

The latest batch of iPhone photos and epigrams from my Instagram feed (by way of Flickr). Here in the northeast, late autumn has to be the most under-appreciated time of year, but as I hope at least a few of these snapshots suggest, it does have a kind of sombre beauty.

Bark patterns on a red maple log suggestive of a smugly closed eye.
A hopeful outlook is a kind of blindness.

The ladder-like dead branches on the lower trunk of a large hemlock tree.
The higher you get, the fewer your options. The best ladders are just habitat for birds.
A rumpled leaf bend around a twig, hiding a crotch-like section of bark on a huge white pine.
A flag is like any other garment, idealizing what it conceals.
A stand of bent and twisted trees in the forest.
Long ago, there were too many humans on the earth, so half of them elected to become trees. So say the Batek people, who live in the forest.
A wet sugar maple leaf curled around the trunk of a sapling a few feet from the ground.
The older I get, the more strongly I cling to my faith in flexible deadlines.
Three ear-shaped fungi on the lined bark of a black birch log.
Headlines are like earworms, colonizing the mind until we can’t accommodate anything more complex.
A dog on a leash stares at the railraod tracks next to a crossing sign.
I envy the railroad sleepers, never stirring in their bed of stones.
A tongue-shaped section of bark and cambium has peeled part-way off the side of a red maple when a limb fel down, but a new limb has sproated from tip of the tongue, which is clearly still alive.
The tongue is a weapon whose wounds take root.
A dog laps at a forest pool with the reflections of bare trees and sky and leaves visible on the shallow bottom.
mountaintop pond—
the blind dog lapping
at her reflection
A poison ivy vine clinging to a white ash tree with half its bark gone, recent victim of the emerald ash borer.
Because the dead never stop being dead, they are the most stable presences in our lives.
The curled, dried end of a milkweed stalk, bend over and dangling almost like a headless body.
Christmas tree ornaments are a colorful reminder that for centuries, public hangings were festive occasions.
Stange, pale remains of fungi lined of like gnomes on a log with a large rock in the background.
Since I never had kids, I saved all my best lies for poems.
A big, heart-shaped, dead catalpa leaf lies on the grass, having turned a lurid shade of maroon with bluish veins.
When leaves die—I tell my imaginary children—they are reborn as fish.

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