I started a blog back about 7-8 years ago. It was my way of sharing how I look at things, sometimes directly, sometimes less so. Now I'm integrating it with my web site. Smart... Perhaps you'll find it interesting. If so, read on.
Oh, this is getting tiresome: long moans about cold and wind and, sometimes, even snow. In April. I am reminded how I get fooled every year - that with April's arrival, the warmth comes in and remains. And every year, it feels like it is worse than usual. The unusual usual...
I walked yesterday in the Arboretum, seeing skeletons of trees, buds tiny if present at all. It seemed natural to think in black & white although the grass was trying its best.
Yet the blessing of this time without leaves is to see the structure of trees, the smaller branches and twigs that form the basis of growth for the future. It's good for me to notice that, even as the wind blows me back indoors sooner than I might have expected.
It was a day after an inch of April snow. A walk in the garden was no harder for that and to watch this meager snowfall disappear, it was worth the tramp.
This is the time when gardens are likely to look their worst - even for those diligent enough to have cleared the space in the fall, there's still a tumble of leaves and rocks and winter's debris.
Yet this is an encouraging moment to walk amidst the slowly reawakening soil as it is transformed from quiet winter to riotous spring. There is much that must happen before seeds are planted. But it is clear - or at least so I can convince myself - that it is just a whisper away.
I am aware that spring has come to the calendar if not to the ground I walk. And while the Pond doesn't necessarily look like this today, it has had at least this coating of snow fairly recently. This shot is from early in the month.
I'm frequently struck by how quiet these pictures of the Pond look, especially considering that the Jamaicaway is right there with car horns and motorcycles and ambulances rightfully rushing, noisily rushing somewhere urgent. What a blessing to turn down the volume, indeed remove the volume.
Beyond that it is quiet, there's little to say. I like the rhythm of the upturned boats on the dock and the people as they walk around the Pond. But mostly I feel rested as I look at this. That's enough...
I've seen this picture before, or almost. I've seen these trees, overlooking this always-changing Pond. Last time I looked, though, there were leaves on the trees and grass rather than snow. And as tired as I am of wintry weather, it is a blessing to see these trees in this state.
Without the leaves, I can see the structure and the texture of the underlying branches. Notice the elegant curves of the smaller branches, the twigs that will grow to support greater weight, more leaves.
There is something reverent about this congregation of trees, standing or slow-dancing on this gentle hillside overlooking a favorite body of water. I wonder whether a static image can capture the essence of this scene without the motion of the wind, so present when I grabbed this shot. And on another level, it doesn't matter. It stands without the wind.
On this day of surreal warmth after a stretch of typical winter fare, I am struck by how just a taste of easy sunshine can shift more than my mood. We walk around the Reservoir, until a week ago completely ice-covered; now it yields to the temporarily inevitable warmth and its debris – leaves, twigs, branches – is free to make its way, with the wind, upon the liberated water.
It is a striking scene, absorbing on this May day in mid-February. I am grateful for the alignment of color and texture and shape – it makes me hopeful, reminding me that beauty is available at all times, under all circumstances.
Indeed, the water was green. Why? I haven’t a clue.
History, the word has new meaning for me. Here, in this palace in Agra, built perhaps more than a thousand years ago, I feel deeply what it is to be "old" and to live in a land where one can see, daily, things that are older than most anything I will see in my country.
It forces me to slow down, to wonder how this particular place came to be, how long it's been this way, what is there to learn.Multiply that by hundreds of things in this city and hundreds and thousands of cities and villages across the county. The sheer intensity of so many people, so many places, such a long, complicated, diverse and, at times divisive history.
This puts my today in context. It doesn't make it easy, just give some perspective, some greater clarity about what I have and what I need.
That dark and grey of autumn has come. Much as we might want to ignore these changes, they are real. Indeed, they will give way to the solidity of winter. This time before the coming of the cold has a tentative quality to it. We wait, knowing or assuming that the burden of winter will come upon us sooner or later. We might take heart in the field without snow even knowing that it will change and likely soon. Perhaps we can decide that we don't mind, that it's all just weather. Perhaps. Of course it's easier to do that with warmth and quiet surrounding us. Let us hope that everyone can find that in whatever way works for them.
A glass house, set up for growing things. Old but still functioning. Come up close and peer inside. It is hard to see. The door is locked. In some places, it's hard to know what is inside and what is out. Walk around it, knowing that you cannot go inside. That's OK, there's much to look at, think about...
It was toward the end of November, the time of more frequent bitter winds, the time to find the snow shovels and rock salt, the boots, mittens,scarves, all the gear to keep the winter at bay and the heart's warmth close. It isn't easy in New England, especially since you know what's coming. Yet here I am, literally half a world away, watching with surprised eyes as spring continues its more enthusiastic southern dance.
The wind blows here, too, but gently, and the jacaranda trees show off exuberant flowers, impossibly beautiful. I see the detritus of spring but even while having lost contact with their host, these petals still seem serene.
I was sitting on a bench surrounded by traffic, noticing these quiet, surrendered petals. This urban world has much in common with my home, yet it is mysteriously, unidentifiably different, unique - slower, more open. I'm glad to have been there...
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