The colours are muted and soft along the Heritage Forest Road, and the ground is rock hard, frozen solid. It may look like there’s little life in the landscape, that it everything is ‘dead’. Dull. How far from the truth!
As we walked the road what struck me was how many signals there were that even in the quiet stillness of winter, and its apparent barrenness, there is a pulsing vitality to the season: the creeks burble beneath a skim of ice, lichens hang conspicuously from limbs all round, colourful slime molds are ‘there’ for the observant eye as are various fascinating fungi; winter birds— wrens, sparrows, nuthatches, chickadees and towhees flit amongst the low shrubs while the finches and others occupy the higher branches; the deer meander and graze undisturbed. Surely the forest pulses with life as much in winter as any season.
I wonder if maybe the forest and its creatures enjoy the relative quiet. Maybe its their ‘sabbath’.
The days begin with a walk to Flagpole Point before breakfast.
In part it is a necessity, to walk the dog, but equally important is that this outing provides me a chance to appreciate the uniqueness of each morning. Though it is the same place, the variation is infinite: light, colour and texture in differing combinations.
The rising sun’s position is constantly shifting with the seasons, tides varying with moon-phase, wind and weather, clouds, fog, rain, or clear… Add to this, the cast of birds and small animals. I never know just what the morning jaunt will offer: kingfishers, herons, otters, harlequins, eagles, mink, seals…
It has long been my habit to record these first glimpses of the day there with a few photos, usually just on my iPhone, but sometimes with my ‘big’ camera. Recently it occurred to me to share some of my morning glimpses with others, so I created a Flickr Album Mornings at Flagpole Point which you can view here.
My aim is to post one a day. Sometimes, like yesterday when we had a power outage I couldn’t post. There are bound to be other missed days here and there, but mostly it’ll be a daily photo.
Thanks so much for enjoying these glimpses of the world with me.
Walking on the island’s shores is like walking in a gallery filled with sculptures masterfully wrought and generously offered for all to enjoy. Here are a few glimpses of yesterday’s meandering through the gallery.
It wasn’t what I was looking for. I was after a photo of a Northern Flicker. But— as I carefully crept along beneath the trees to get close enough for a photo, a flash of a different orange caught my eye.
Nestled in the hollow core of a very old fir stump was a beautiful fan of orange and yellow mushroom. Turns out it is known as a ‘Conifer Chicken of the Woods’ (Laetiporus conifericola). I’ve seen it before growing on trunks of decaying fir trees, sometimes quite spectacularly, but the appeal of this sighting was accented by its cozy home low down, inside the empty round of the stump.
If I’d not been pursuing the Flicker, I may well have missed this beauty! I didn’t get the Flicker. He was long gone by the time I’d finished photographing the ‘Chicken of the Woods’.
(Note: The inside of the stump was in shadow in the morning, so I returned later in the day when the sun was higher to get the photo above.)
At first when I noticed one of my roses nodding its head, I was disappointed to miss seeing the glory of it’s opening blossom, but after a closer look, it occurred to me that perhaps it was a good gift that the rose was offering: the display of the detail and texture of its oft ignored side.
The gentle curve, the delicate shading of the petals, the texture of the sepals with their furred edge… I wouldn’t have noticed had I been distracted by a more ordinary perspective. This other side of the rose was intriguing, and stunning in its simple beauty.
Have you been similarly surprised by the beauty of looking at something from a different angle?
During my school days, our Headmistress would often urge us to notice what’s around us saying, ‘Even the thorn bush by the wayside is ablaze with the glory of God.’ I’ve come to appreciate over the years that she was absolutely right.
Today I was reminded of this as I saw, not a ‘thorn bush’ but an ordinary drainage ditch, ‘blazing’ with beauty: colour, texture and pattern.
I have intentionally adjusted the photo above with texture and colour as I contemplated the beauty on display. The red colours in the weeds to the right were actually there, and brighter. I’ve muted them so as not to ‘take over’ the image as a whole. It’s the raindrop circles that particularly entranced me— the way they refracted and reflected the light.
Though the afternoon had been drizzly and the days fairly cool, the camellia doesn’t seem to mind. She’s blooming, determined spring is really arriving. I cut some and arranged them in the old white milk jug, and set them on the dining table. The next morning the sun was up before I was so I was greeted with this glimpse of beauty sunlit beauty.
Photo Notes: this piece is adapted from my original RAW photo using Lightroom and Topaz Impression.