Thursday, January 30, 2014
--a further attempt to catch up on our autumn activities
Dry summer. Dirt dried to dust. Wet areas turned to mud then cracked under the sun. Color burned out of the land. Grass cured to beige. Soil and stone faded to pale. Smoke from distant fires muted the sky, scraped the detail from nearby cliffs and mesas.
As summer turned toward autumn, the weather turned, too. Moisture plumed from a distant ocean. Clouds crowded the sky and roiled upward over the hot land. The sky darkened to blue. Water returned to the desert.
Streamers of rain brushed across the ridges. Drops came down, painting the dust and stone. Dirt drew the moisture into itself. Droplets were drawn together into rivulets. Rivulets gathered together to stroke the bottoms of stone canyons. Mud spattered. Expectant roots drew water into poised plants.
Quickly. And slowly. Water returned color to the land. Dry stone quickly turned rich. Powdered slopes darkened to red, blue-green, mauve. Old wood was magnified. Dusty pine needles were rinsed to bristled brown.
Slowly. Plants gathered the moisture. Autumn hillsides were bathed in spring-like green. Blossoms punctuated the edges of trails with red, purple, pink, yellow.
* * *
We step outside after a storm. Under skies washed clean. Into a small secretive canyon. A stone canyon where water and time have carved curved vessels where water can linger. The stone nearly white. Nearly blond. Splotched with black lichen. Streaked with yellowed layers.
Within the hollows of white stone. Water. Cupped and gathered. Pooled and held. Spilled from recent rains and cached in stone. Flowing wetly to low places where it waits. Collecting within these hollows of stone.
Within the water. Stone. Pulverized to powder. By time. By water. Stone stained rich by iron. By air. By time. Stone reduced and suspended. Saturating water with vibrant earthy red. Turning clarity to spectacle.
Red water in white stone. The flow of time. Of wear. Of slow change. Traced. Clearly drawn. With water. With color.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Sunday, January 5, 2014
-An attempt to catch up on activities from this past autumn-
There is a golden rule. It's not a hard and fast rule. But as a rule, autumn is a golden season in these parts.
Some of the gold comes in the form of leaves turning their seasonal gold and yellow. Most of the gold comes from the light. The shorter days and the angle of the sun brings a certain clarity and color to the local scenery. The crisp air inspires an intensity, an urgency, perhaps, as the corner of the colder season looms ahead.
We responded. With urgency, perhaps. Feverishly, perhaps. We got outside to slide through honey light on rough trails. We poured through the pools of warm color that showered from trees filled with changing leaves. We were drawn to late-season blossoms. To kaleidoscopic displays of rock, dirt, leaf, sky. To riverbanks and creek-sides re-drawn with golden borders. To hidden canyons. Sharp-edged mesas. Fading gardens. Seeking...
Gold. From gaudy to secret. Subtle to gleaming. Rare to generous. We filled our coffers with warmth and light. Stocking against the coming season of blues and whites and greys. Fearing that the season would change. That all our saving would fade into cold. Into winter. Into a more crystal treasure.
This quest for gold is a fools errand, perhaps. A vanity. For not all that glitters… And no amount of gathering, in memory or photograph, can capture those long moments. Can save them. Except as artifice and falsehood and shifting shadow. What is here one day may be gone tomorrow.
Perhaps the rule, then, is to be out there. Amid the gold. To spend time with eyes wide. With alert skin. With nostrils flared. Ears attuned. Awake to changing light. To warm air and chill stone. To the scent of dust and leaves and water. To clouds and ravens moving through open skies. To the clarity of water moving over desert rock. To the applause of golden leaves lingering on branches soon to be bare. Soon to be frosted.
If we apply another Golden Rule. A rule more known and certainly more virtuous. Then this: We would have others inspire us. As many have and many continue to do. And thus would hope that something here inspires.