Day 21: Beauty in a broken world

Until the pandemic, I loved visiting museums, especially art museums. On my first visit to Chicago, a sweet friend who lived there invited me to join her at the Art Institute of Chicago. What a glorious time I had. That was eight years—and a lifetime—ago.

A detail of Monet’s Water Lily Pond, with textured brushstrokes in a rainbow of colors

I took this photo of the detail in Monet’s Water Lily Pond, hoping to capture the textures in the painting. Nothing beats seeing art in real life, though, to be able to examine more closely the brush strokes and even the cracks in the paint, and I look forward to wandering through art museums again some day.

Join me in the hunt for beauty?
Where do you see beauty in a broken world? Want to add your own images during the 31-day journey? If so, feel free to comment below with your Instagram handle, and tag your Insta posts with #beautyinabrokenworld. You’ll find me there @pixofhope.

Training dogs that rescue … trees?

Spring is in the air, and for my part of the world, that means pine pollen is, too, turning the air and everything else a dusty yellow.

I can always gauge the level of spring fever by the number of tree and flower photos in Facebook status updates I see in a given day. Yesterday’s beginning of spring brought a profusion of blooms online. One friend posted a photo of a gorgeous bonsai tree blazing with fuchsia-colored blooms. Another posted a picture of Monet’s beautiful painting Spring (Fruit Trees in Bloom).

A third friend posted a link to a story about a pear tree blooming at the site of the 9/11 memorial. The tree had been found severely damaged among the rubble after the attacks, was relocated and nursed back to health, and then replanted at the memorial site. Isn’t it amazing that someone thought to bother saving that tree and now visitors to the site can see it as an offering of beauty and hope and nature’s resilience?

Let’s turn back to that pine pollen, for a moment, and some amazing dogs who are being trained to make sure pine trees stick around and keep on giving us their tangible, hopeful announcement of spring every year.

Auburn University is doing some really cool work in a project called EcoDogs that trains dogs to detect certain items of ecological interest: animal droppings, baby fawns, boa constrictors and even tree fungi. That’s right: tree fungi. Continue reading