If you take a stroll in the chilly autumn winds this Thanksgiving weekend, you'll find a really lovely landscape. On the ground are silhouettes of so many leaves collecting on the sidewalk—the gingko's fan, the oak's fingers, and the maple's peaks—and with each silhouette, the story of a tree's evolution. Artist Jenny Lee Fowler cuts portrait silhouettes of people from leaves and bark. Her paper cuttings are distinctly modern, while honoring the legacy of early American portraiture and the natural elements that are her media.
Half-buried in the far flung sands of the Namib Desert, in southern Africa, the Welwitschia mirabilis is a patient exile, and beloved among botanists who seek the very old and the very strange. The oldest individuals have been dated at almost 2,000 years old—among the oldest organisms on earth. And the gymnosperm is considered a living fossil, not for its superlative age, but for a structure (in this case, a bizarre one) that has remained the same for as long as the species has endured—for over 100 million years.