I’ve spent a few years now poking around in these, my haunts, and they’re so familiar to me at this point I think you could spin me around blindfolded, and drop me on any of my trails in any season. I’d know where and when I was, I think, just by the birds and the blooms and the way the sun angles over the crests of these humpbacked hills.
The echoes of summer ring through the bare branches, but they’re echoes I carry in all by myself. The woods aren’t really concerned with all that simmering green nonsense right now. And I’m not exactly longing for it either. I’m not just biding my time until it returns. Instead, I’m trying to memorize the frames of these trees, now that they’ve shed their leaves. Gotta learn their bones. And I’m dabbling around in my paint palette, dipping and daubing, trying to name the color of snow: Permanent Mauve. French Ultramarine. Quinacridone Gold.
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it sure as hell isn’t white.
From the top: pitch pine seedling; leftover oak leaves catching the sunlight; goldenrod; snow; um, some sort of seedpod… let me get back to you on that; alright, alright, I’ll lay off the star-flares.
While some folks abandon the beaches after September, I’m an all-weather kind of girl. Last weekend, I scratched together some minutes to visit the barrier island at sunset. I planned to look for ducks on the northern bay side, and then cross to admire the ocean to the south. I sketched a vague plan for a post about the cold, fierce November ocean, but the water lapped the sand as gently as August waves. Instead, I oriented myself to the lights at the other cardinal points: the sun, setting to the west, the full moon rising at my back.
The chance to watch both simultaneously is one gift of these shortened days; thank goodness, since we’re counting every heartening effect we can find until the winter solstice.
Now, the moon at her fullest rises early and enormous. The optics of the atmosphere bend the light and magnify her face so that her craters and rays are visible to the naked eye. On the other horizon, the sun wraps herself in crimson and gold, and casts her warm glow on the face of the moon.
I can’t decide which I prefer: these fiery sunsets, or the simmering enormity of the rising moon. Late fall and winter are the moon’s seasons, after all. But the sun sure puts on a good show, doesn’t she?
Every once in a while, I start to feel like I’m falling into a rut. Here are some pretty pictures. Here also are some words I labored over. I hope you find them pleasing as well.
So I think, Maybe I should try to make some art, but I’m not quite sure how to go about making art. As far as I can tell, there’s gathering and arranging and interpreting involved, but that’s about the best I can make out. And I can hardly take credit for what Nature is doing in any of my pictures.
Maybe I should do more storytelling. But it’s the same story over and over: I went out, and I looked, and I saw lovely things. I guess it’s not so much a failure of story telling as of story having.
Eventually, I arrive at an agreement with myself in which I resolve to carry on doing as I’ve done until something better or more interesting occurs to me. Fortunately, Nature doesn’t seem to have a rut problem. For example, now the days are shorter, and the air is colder. Everything is new again. But colder.
Then again, all things being equal, there are definitely worse ways to spend an hour. Keep up the good work, Nature.