Beauty in Unusual Places

 

Flowers are lovely things. The colour, the shape, the texture, the scent: flowers have them all.

 

Crocus will bloom before too much longer. I hope.
Crocus will bloom before too much longer. I hope.

 

But at this time of year, when flowers are only a future prospect, I am searching for beauty in other places. (Yes, there is beauty in the winter landscape, but I’ve had enough of it.)

So instead of looking out my window, I’m looking to memory. And I’m finding some unusual attractions, in some unusual locales.

The incredible ‘flowers’ below were ‘blooming’ underwater off the northwest coast of Australia. When the tides recede, a section of the seabed that normally is deep underwater suddenly becomes shallow, and things hidden are briefly visible.

 

A colourful coral.
Was coral like this the inspiration for millefleur paperweights?

 

The colours of these underwater creatures are subtle,

 

a beige and white beauty
Tiny granules dust this coral like a sugar-coated homemade doughnut.

 

the patterns intricate.

 

Australia Kimberley 2011-1217
These green blobs seem like snowflakes, each following the same basic pattern but showing it in a unique way.

 

the shapes intriguing.

 

Australia Kimberley 2011-1274
This brainy creature makes me think of mazes where paths lead nowhere in particular.

 

Rocks in the same part of the world offer colours and textures that make a barren landscape almost as interesting as a garden. (Perhaps more so to a geologist.) An overview of one piece of twisted landscape gives a tiny sense of what there is to see.

 

Imagine the heaving of the earth that caused this twisted shape.
Imagine the heaving of the earth that caused this twisted shape.

 

Close up, colours are almost unbelievably vivid.

 

Blue rocks? Whoever heard of such a thing?
Blue rocks? Whoever heard of such a thing!

 

The rocks in the Kimberley are among the oldest in the world, and their striations hint at the turmoil that once occurred here.

 

Australia Kimberley 2011-1560
Rose, purple, gold orange: I’d like a scarf that combined these colours.

 

Not all beauty has intense colour, though.  Desert scenes are more subtle.

 

Sand dunes have a stark beauty all their own.
Sand dunes have a stark beauty all their own.

 

Shadows define the shape of sand.

 

A composition in sand and shadow.
A composition in sand and shadow.

 

At a different hour, under a brilliant sky, the sand seems to change colour.

 

Different light conditions modify the colour of sand. A blue sky helps.
Different light conditions modify the colour of the sand, moving it from a pale beige to a rich orange.

 

This part of the Egyptian desert was once underwater. Petrified clam shells that emerge from shifting sands prove the claim.

 

A sand bank in the desert holds thousands of clam shells, now turned to stone.
A sand bank in the desert holds thousands of clam shells, now turned to stone.

 

Nearby, petrified logs are scattered on the sand. Once a forest grew here, on the shores of a lake or river.

 

This part of the desert was once a forest. Who knows? Perhaps the trees that grew there also flowered.
I don’t know what kind of trees grew here but I hope they flowered.

 

Natural beauty comes in many shapes and forms, in many places. Some are distant, some closer to home. Right now, the closer ones are a lot colder.

 

Ice crystals on the lake: frozen beauty.
Ice crystals feather the lake..

 

I’ll be happy when these frozen beauties melt.