Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 22 (Floating Christmas Cactus Photomontage)

04 December 2017

Floating Christmas Cactus Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2017 Sally W. Donatello

Floating Christmas Cactus Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2017 Sally W. Donatello

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.


Floating blossoms bring images of self-proclamation, advocating for Mother Nature. Flowers represent the omniscience, omnipresence and rich prospect of the natural world.

There is no more important time in the history of human civilization than now to honor and respect our planet. There really are no words to express the agony and pain felt from my country’s administration and its willingness to turn their backs on science, the ramifications of climate change, and the well-being of each citizen. Anxiety is high and increasing every day. On my daily commune with nature I find momentary relief. That meditative and safe space is glorious. But sometimes the abundance of nature is directly nearby and inside.

This week I discovered this year’s blooms on my Christmas cactuses, which bring the pleasures of nature indoors. Each November and December they provide incredibly floral design with shades and hues that tranquillize the senses. Each bloom seems to burst into  flame, flashing color and layers of dignity, no narcissism is intended. Its duty seems more rooted in the need to demonstrate nature’s ability to capture our attention, and give us much to ponder and revere.

I was compelled to still their brilliance and delicate showiness. They are reminders that our minds can for a time be diverted to another space that transforms it into a treasure trove of what the world offers. And what’s vital to my emotional well-being.


With the assault upon public natural spaces in my country, this holiday season I am giving gifts that support the health of the earth and its inhabitants. Examples are planting trees (Arbor Day Foundation), gifts of honeybees, sheep and flocks of chicks (Heifer International) and adopting animals (Sierra Club). And I have been adding a few natives  to my own garden. Planting now will get them acclimated for spring’s arrival in three months. Oh, will I make it through winter? Happy gift giving.

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26 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 22 (Floating Christmas Cactus Photomontage)

  1. Tina Schell says:

    Love the Christmas Cactus, it’s such an intriguing plant. Very stellar image indeed Sally

  2. I’m glad to hear that you’ve planted some natives in your garden, Sally. Native plants act as a botanical clock for an area, telling the seasons of the year — even if some species occasionally bloom outside their “normal” time.

  3. Amy says:

    Thank you for the important message, Sally! This image is so beautiful done.
    I am a supporter of Audubon. 🙂 Thank you for the links!

  4. I like the idea of a flower giving birth to new flowers – as I interpret this composite image. Beautifully done. And, I do the destruction of some of your natural landscapes will somehow be stopped.

  5. thirdeyemom says:

    Beautiful Sally and I feel your pain. When I was in Chile I learned all about the shrinking of the glaciers. I never realized that even as far down as Santiago it is still desert and without the glaciers they will have significant problems providing water to its 7 million inhabitants. There are many problems with the copper mining industry which is the number one export in Chile however it is increasing the rate of glacial melting since the dust lands on the ice and makes it melt faster. I tell you, it is very disturbing how money talks and there seems to be no apparent concern for the future of our planet.

  6. I love this photo, Sally. It reminds me of a much more streamlined version of the origami cranes that people fold. I’m also supportive of your idea of planting trees. Next year we are contributing to what will be an annual event at the Marin Civic Center to plant trees in public spaces and parks. It also happens to be on our 50th anniversary, so we can’t pass it up.

  7. Gallivanta says:

    The blossoms look as though they are dancing amongst the stars. Lovely, as is your choice of gifts this year. I wonder how much time the current US President has spent planting trees or tending to a garden. He seems very far removed from those basic tasks.

  8. I love this, Sally–the colors and the repeating blossoms. Perfect for Advent and the coming of Christmas.


  9. Love your gift idea of planting trees.

  10. Su Leslie says:

    This is one of the most beautiful, and haunting, montages you’ve created Sally. It speaks not only of stillness and peace, but of our tenuous place in the cosmos. I think your gift ideas are wonderful too. Imagine if even 20% of us made such gifts instead of the unnecessary and often unwanted objects people normally buy. 🙂

  11. pattimoed says:

    Beautiful image, Sally!!

  12. I love this image. It’s so…stellar! 🙂

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