Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Green & A River Walk

"Wetlands #3", watercolor

The wood stove creaks as I write today. A late morning fire warms the house and 
cold rain soaks into newly dug garden beds. I sit at my upstairs writing nook quietly admiring the yellow-green leaves of beech and birch - a shocking contrast to the 
darker hemlock hues. Spaces left empty since fall are filled again as the deciduous 
trees burst into leaf. Miraculous variations of greens weave between unfurling 
rust-edged maple leaves. As May slips gently past, I find myself wandering in the woodland, enchanted by delicate flowers and the most magical songs of 

My dear friend, Bob, and his partner, Mabel visited last week from California. We 
went to the Chesterfield Gorge to admire the swift flowing river, high cliffs and 
amazing rock outcroppings. The path meanders along high above the river. 

Eventually, the path opens onto the view of the river as it leaves the gorge. Often
one sees fishermen in the shallows below. This day however, we were alone to 
listen to river songs and distant raven quarks. 


Looking back upriver, we notice the huge, quartz boulders eroded from an intrusion 
long, long ago, 

 and the sheer face of the cliffs on the other side. I imagine the bobcats love it here. 

 Tree roots grabbing onto stone remind me of temples in 
Cambodia being reclaimed by the jungle. 

Amazing evidence of ledge turned on end:

Stone outcroppings with lots of nooks and crannies for critters.

 Caves and a stone lean-to along the path show evidence of fort-making. 
I would have loved to play here as a child.... 

I think I must return to this small dwelling someday to leave some enchantment... 
It would have been the perfect house for my little Stieff bears who occupied the 
bookshelf in my room when I was a child. I think my bears would have much preferred 
this spot. 


The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

Special and spirited pictures as usual :-)

steven said...

valerianna, the openings of space in some of these pictures precipitate "oh's" and "wows" out loud . . . the great dragon mouth cave at the end is like home. thankyou for sharing these stunning images. steven

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Could be a thousand years ago and not today.
so timeless it is.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Beautiful...and the child in me says YES, leave a little enchanted gift, perhaps for a small child to find and treasure.

susan christensen said...

V - I am missing my Forest home very much during this month away in the suburbs and drank in these photos with joy. Your mention of Stieff bears hit a nostalgic chord with me; I had a wonderful collection of Stieff animals as a child who were my favorite companions.

Donna~Q~ said...

What a gloriously beautiful walk ~ thank you! The greens in your painting are JUST RIGHT :~)

Rowan said...

What a beautiful area, your photographs as always are excellent. I love the one where the tree roots look like arms wrapped around the stones.

helen said...

I miss living with woods around me. Thank you for this adventure through yours. Your painting, words and photographs are beautiful. Hope you are having a most wonderful Tuesday. Happy Full Moon :~))

jude said...

what great nooks and crannies there, wood thrush here, but no frogs.

mairedodd said...

i am struck by the evidence of the power of the natural world - slabs of rock turned on end, rushing waters able to cut through stone... the tenacity of nature - through cycles and years... i love the picture to liken to cambodia... thank you for sharing this magical and yet oh so real world we live in - these images infuse my days and give me much to think upon...

jodi said...

Such a gorgeous forest! And those roots and stones definitely do put one in mind of Angkor, like you were saying. I think I love those temples a thousand times more for the trees that grow from them.

mirsini's creations said...

Hi Valerianna!Wonderful pictures!! What a magical forest!! The roots that look like arms, amazing!!! and the outcropping stones looking like trunks!! The last one it's like something really elfish!! Yes! yes! it would be great for the bears in this place! Magical!! Thank you so much for sharing your magic walks! Kisses!

Tammie Lee said...

it looks
and sounds
as though you had a wonderful time with your friends, new memories..... made adn enjoyed. a lovely place to be, I can see.

Donna Iona Drozda said...

You bring a most magnificent meander through the gorge forest and into the nooks and crannies of the stone people lodges...ohhhhhh...and the sounds of the Wood Thrush...and wee tree frogs...most excellent spring soundtrack of the forest.

Swan Artworks said...

I love the soft verdant light in the Wetlands painting, so evocative. Lovely forest pictures, your vast wide forests seem so different to our native British broadleaf woodlands... bears and bobcats for one!

ramona said...

I love the sound of the wood thrush! So haunting and magical like the places you show us. Your friends are having a good time:)

Penny Berens said...

Aaah, those woods and rivers and mighty boulders. You are right, the spaces between the trees and filling the way you express things.

layers said...

So you live in the North east and I live in the North west part of the country and yet your woods and streams and trees look just like ours--- very beautiful and lush and peaceful.

Cottage Garden said...

Chesterfield Gorge looks an incredible place to visit Valerianna. Fantastic photos! So much history in all those layers of wood and rock ... wonderfully descriptive prose ... and the soundtrack from your daydreaming by the cosy stove as you recall the trip with your friends, setting down those lovely memories.

I hope the rain has stopped and you are able to tend your newly dug garden beds!


Valerianna said...

Cranky Crone - thanks!

Steven - I can't believe its taken me SO LONG to do a post on the gorge, its just a few miles from home, much closer as the crow flies. Its one of the reasons I landed here... I was full of those Oh's and Ah's when I first visited while out this way looking for land.

Julie - couldn't it? Stones and water and caves - yes, ancient and contemporary all at once.

Mermaid - Once this week + of rain is done, I just might go back and leave some enchantment, thanks for your vote!

susan - I have my bears still with me, sitting in a basket upstairs... I'm thinking I might take them to the gorge to do a photo shoot in the stump! Ha! Hope I get to that!

Donna - glad you think the greens are right, they just come out from memory and I hope I get them right sometimes.

Rowan - I like that one, too.. I surely feel the spirit of that tree grabbing on!

Helen - thanks! Glad to share my woods with you.... now if it will ever stop raining - and I mean POURING - I'll get back out there.

Jude - love the wood thrush song, it really does transport me, and the frogs, I never knew how magical they were before moving here.

Marie - yes, such power in the land. That spot is truly one where the earth's intensity is palpable.

Jodi - I've never been to Angkor- but I bet I'd have the same response, absolutely!

mirsini's creations- yes, yes, VERY elfin!!

Tammie - a good visit, but very short, thank goodness for email and that Bob travels east a lot - I've never gotten out to California to see him!

Donna - it is QUITE the soundtrack, really, I love it.

Swan Artworks - I've been drooling over photos of bluebells and thinking just what you said about how different England's forests are to here. Both have their amazing beauty... and someday I MUST see the bluebells!

Ramona - To be awakened at dawn by the wood thrush song is wonderful. They are truly amazing. They often scratch around in my moss garden, one sits on a branch nearby and sings - astonishing, really.

Penny - thanks... it does really feel like things are filling in.

layers - I've noticed how this particular forest looks a lot like the Northwest. I think the predominance of the hemlocks are a part of that as they make it cool and dark and damp. Just a bit further up into the hills and the pine forests are drier and have a very different feel.

Jeanne - no end to the rain yet! When I look at the online forecast, there are little icons showing rain for days. But, alas, I am getting things done inside, I'm SURE you understand how warmth and sun can bring on the gardening obsession!

Velma said...

shame on me, i know that bird by sight and by sound, but i never had put them together. a lovely walk with you and your friends. thank you.

rivergardenstudio said...

This gorge is enchanting. So strong with its etched walls, so graceful deep in it's canyon. I wish I could see it in person. roxanne

Valerianna said...

Velma - no shame, now you know!

Roxanne - the gorge is the biggest attraction in town! Not as grand as some river gorges, but amazing and just down the road from me... I hear the river rushing through those high stone walls in spring thaw.

Barry said...

V- Wetlands watercolour seems to embody the subtle presence of water everywhere in your images - love it. B

Lauren said...

How lovely, the spiral and seed.........
Just wanted to let you know I'm glad you and Jewell didn't sustain damage during the tornado.
also, really enjoyed seeing the video about your show!