Glowing embers in the blue-black of the fading day.
Outside, sleet and freezing rain beating on a drum
of softening snow. Just a brief respite between
frozen winds and clinking icicles. Late tonight
temperatures will drop again and somewhere
above, the snow maker will sculpt
(do click larger to see the amazing detail in these!)
In a moment of remembering today, I pulled out
an envelope of treasures. Years ago my father gave
me two of my grandfather's notebooks, both from his
work as a marine biologist.
One is a small, handmade folio of card stock
on which are pasted algae specimens collected
from Long Island Sound. Delicate branching
systems, and warm sepia tones: they
could be drawings of trees.
A well-spring of inspiration, seeds of
drawings take root in me. Even the process of scanning
these few pages have sparked to life some
sleeping embers in my imagination.
Obsessed as I am with branching systems,
this tree caught my attention on a recent snow shoe.
The lichen and moss patterns: variations of fractal
patterns in the microcosm.
If ever my studio heater arrives, I think the images
trapped inside me will explode onto paper. Though
I've been drawing, what I want is my work table with
my bones and stones, nests and feathers and the
freedom to be as messy as I need to be.
I know there has also been a gift in this time.
I've been forced to look closely, to step out of routine
and to let other forms of expression fulfill
my need to create.
Above and below, branching systems studies.
A large wound on a beech tree reminds me that I am
molded beautifully by the forces that push against me.
Beautiful bark texture on enormous ash tree
in a nearby old growth forest.
My friend and neighbor, Anneliese and I snow shoed in the
deep snow on the Rivulet Trail, one of the few remaining
stands of old growth in New England. The trail is on
the homestead of the poet, William Cullen Bryant,
who "helped inspire the 19th-century land conservation
movement that involved Frederic Law Olmsted and
Charles Eliot, founder of The Trustees of Reservations."
(from the Bryant Homestead site link above)
The pine loop on the trail winds around pine trees
reaching up to 150 feet.
Anneliese enjoys a moment with
an enormous cherry tree. Its rare
to find such a huge, straight cherry
still standing as the wood is prized
for veneers and furniture. The Rivulet
Trail has several beautiful old cherry trees.
At the beginning of our journey,
we were met by this wonderful forest spirit.
We want to re-visit him in the spring to see
if his fern-dreads are rooted there or
somehow found their way onto his crown.
We are still buried in snow, with no end in site.
So much so that roofs are collapsing. Everywhere
around town, roofs were dotted with people throwing
snow onto huge piles, sometimes covering windows.
I've been out in many a storm, trying to stay ahead.
Arctic fashion is somewhat turtle-like.
I really might have to have a neighbor come over with his
tractor to move some snow around so I can still shovel
a path to the studio!
I decided to head the warnings, and do some
roof raking yesterday. Tootling around on snowshoes
with a long-poled shovel-thing was amusing. A
couple of times I dislodged a snow pile onto
my head, and almost toppled over backwards
when it let go!
I decided to leave it to the youth to do the high roofs,
so Shelby came over and shoveled. Having the two of us
out and about all day was great entertainment for Pasha,
until he realized that our activities resulted in snow avalanches.
A sense of solidarity came with the snows:
all of us engaged in the same chores, passing on
humorous stories as we passed roof rakes
one to another.
I leave you with a recent tree drawing. I'm stuck here
wondering whether to leave it as is or bring out more
light. What do you think?