Nature’s stained-glass windows

I’m settled in from Esteban’s and my almost-three-week-long vacation — and finally I’m catching up on my backlog of blog-reading.

Among the many wonderful posts was Sóla’s ode to her love affair with flowers. “I’d love to hear about your favourites,” she wrote at the end of her post. My mind immediately went back a few days earlier, to Paris.

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This ancient well is in the Square Viviani, behind the church of St. Julien le Pauvre.

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It was a whirlwind tour of my favorite city, during which time and light were both in short supply. (Don’t despair. I did get a few good shots, in spite of the somber skies.)

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But on one glorious morning the sun shone so brightly that it literally ripped me out of bed. Yes, literally!

We were lodging just blocks from the Jardin des Plantes, so I scampered along the Seine to the gates of the great garden and waited patiently with a small crowd of joggers and strollers until the groundskeeper let us in at 7:30.

Long beds of delicate, translucent poppies lined the central path.

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The only selfie you’ll ever see from me:
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If nature was my cathedral, these were her stained-glass windows.

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So there you go, Sóla. The favourite flowers I promised! Thank you for inspiring me to dig into my photos and pull out this favorite memory.


  1. Ahh, so beautiful. Glorious, sumptuous photos as always, H. What a pleasure to be able to see them for once! (We are still lurking in a cafe to access their internet!)

    • I thank the low angle of the sun — and the angle of my lens, too — for those model-long legs! 🙂 Just as I thank YOU for your kind words.

    • Yes! That’s been one of my consistent frustrations with digital. The older Panasonic micro-four-thirds I was using had a really strong magenta cast, so it was almost impossible to get a “pure” bright yellow. But whatever they did to the sensor or processing on the GX7 really worked — and now I love shooting flowers again. As you can see. 😉

  2. LOVE this! You have such a great eye. Flowers and Paris… I can’t imagine anything more inspirational than that! I can’t wait to see what else you shot. Beautiful!

    • Aw, Julie … your kind words make my day because I know you’re an awesome photographer in your own right. Thank you! (PS: I can’t wait to see what else I shot either. I honestly have no idea, it was such a blur! 😉

      • Thanks!!! You always make me smile!!! I can’t wait for my kids to be off for the summer so that HOPEFULLY we can hit the road for a change of scenery. I need some inspiration. I haven’t shot anything in ages. I’ll live vicariously through you! I can’t even imagine how much awesome you have to share!!!!

  3. Thank you for putting the flowers of Paris, in a beautiful bunch, onto my laptop. You seem to have a magical, light-inhaling camera.

    Your photos reminded me of that Iris Murdoch quote: “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”

    • Oh, how your comments make me smile! I loved this one for your typically wry way with words (“light-inhaling camera” — indeed!) and that beautiful Iris Murdoch quote, which I’d somehow never heard before. May I always find such wonder in the world. Thank you for inspiring me!

    • I found them beautiful too, Pamchenlein. I may have to get us some so we can enjoy them in our own little respective Jardins des Plantses.

  4. Sadly, I’ve never been to Paris, but it looks very attractive as a backdrop in one or two of the photographs here. Perhaps one day… The stars of the show, though, have to be the flowers. They really are gorgeous. 🙂

    • Your comment really got me thinking about Paris … very astute and insightful, even if you’ve not (yet) been there! The city really is like a backdrop that helps me notice things I might otherwise walk past — like flowers, people on the street, and tiny architectural details. I think that’s one of the reasons I feel more alive there than anyplace else I’ve (yet) visited. All of that said, I must agree with you: The flowers really stole *this* show. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by, and taking the time to comment!

      • You’re very welcome. I’m always happy to look at beautiful photographs. One of these days, I’m bound to get to Paris. It seems that almost everybody does eventually. 🙂

  5. How gorgeous are those poppies?! and the sun came out at the perfect time to capture their striking colours too. I’m so glad to hear my post on My Love Affair with Flowers inspired you – you’ve seriously brought a huge smile to my face. Your collection of images are just super. I hope you enjoyed your time in paris – its one of my fav cities too. ☺️

    • Aww, you are too sweet! Though I should thank YOU again for the inspiration. Usually it takes me months to get around to editing my photos, but thanks to you I’m diving in in record time. I think you’ll enjoy some of what’s to come if you like Paris … 😉

    • PS: About the light … I was lucky! The quality of the light is one of the few things you can’t really control in photography, so I was thrilled to be in the right place at the right time on this particularly brilliant morning.

      • Tell me about it! lighting can either make or break a picture. I sometimes struggle with that depending on the look that I’m going for but practice makes progress right?! Your images came out very well. 😊

  6. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris once so far but I rue that I was such a young, inexperienced traveler and not able to see things through the lens of maturity. I have many fond, personal memories of moments and places there but your writing and photography about the city are from a place I never saw. I would love to go back someday! I really like your pictures of the poppies, they’re wonderful. I felt particularly smiley when I was looking at them because a neighbor’s poppies have gradually spread into our yard and this year we have our own bright, fluorescent orange patch!

    • As annoying as it can be when a neighbor’s plants wander uninvited into one’s yard, I think I would welcome the bright, fluorescent orange patch you describe. Just the description makes me feel the warm sunshine on my skin!

      As for Paris … well, it’s a pity you rue being so young. I can relate a bit, I think, because I wish I’d been better able to appreciate my grandparents. But I have to remind myself that I’ve done the best I could with the knowledge and skills I had at the time. We may have profited more from our experiences as adults — but there’s also something to be said for experiencing Paris and grandparents with youthful wonder and curiosity. And anyway, Paris will always be there for you, anytime you decide to go back. (And I really do hope you get to go back.)

    • What a kind comment. Thank you! I’m honored that you like my photo enough to want to buy a print. Please send me a note at hmunro dot wordpress at gmail dot com and we can chat about sizes and finishes. 🙂

    • I love Paris too! It’s the perfect antidote to gloomy days, isn’t it? Cheers to you from a very gloomy and rainy Minnesota!

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