The curves and lines in this image have been intriguing me since I captured it on Friday.
What keeps me looking is the contrast between the long clean lines that have been so carefully drawn in this garden, and the rough ‘imperfect’ lines and curves of the tree and its shadow. The intersection of these lines— their juxtaposition— provokes all sorts of thoughts for me.
I wonder what it suggests to you?
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’.
I’ve always loved the forest. As a child I loved to explore trails in the woods, to build forts, and to take a picnic to a mossy spot and sit in the quiet— sometimes with a friend. The forest has always been a place of wonder and mystery for me.
It remains so— and to me it is most deeply mysterious and wonder-full in the depths of winter when the soaking rain and the January mist and fog moves amidst the trees. The strong shapes are softened and the moss and lichens become almost luminous in the shortened daylight, as though they thrive in the winter, enjoying the relief from the droughts of August.
Some people have told me they find these short darker days with the low hanging cloud wearying. For me, along with the lichen-bearded cedars, soaking their roots in the sodden earth, and the moss that is practically jubilant in its lush growth, this is a happy time of year. It’s the season of rest and replenishment.
I’ll be ready when the exuberance of spring comes, and I’ll be ready to dry out in the summer. But for now, it’s winter, and it is very good.
My daily walks up the road are always a pleasure. Well, mostly always. Sometimes, if its just plummeting rain, my pleasure is dampened (so to speak). But today it was a real pleasure, as the leaves dappled the road, and the sun was still slanting through the trees, even if weakened by the light overcast.
In places, like the spot in the photo, there was a little light on the road, which struck me as this morning as a fine metaphor of how life works— a little light here and there. Not alway blazing brilliant light, but light all the same. And then the road curves in to the shadier spots.
The patches of light are exquisite— I love and appreciate them— their clear colour and beauty, but even in the shadier spots there are marvelous things to see: moss and mushrooms, lichens, winter wrens chattering and woodpeckers flitting. These treasures were certainly present today and interestingly, they were for the most part, in the darker, less glorious places.
Spending a few days in ‘town’ offers a chance to walk the paths along Mosquito Creek. The delight of these walks comes not only from the beauty alongside the tumbling creek-water, but the poignancy of recognizing these are likely last days before the green leaves the trees (so to speak). The sunlight shining through the still vibrant green is more precious perhaps because these days are so limited. But its not only the colour and light. For me its also their shadow patterns on the path — constantly shifting, and intriguing.
The photo above is one of my favourite points on the trail where it diverges around a grand moss-clothed maple. To the left it goes down to the creek itself. To the right, up to the road. The main trail is straight ahead, past the maple, following alongside the creek.
glimpses of the extraordinary amidst an ordinary day