A NOVEMBER AFTERNOON
This bright blue day belied the calendar! November had been temporarily mislaid and it felt like spring. It had been weeks since I had been on the River Trail, so I set aside all chores for an hour of fresh air and sunshine.
The paths were deserted save for me, and as I looked out over the ‘wetlands’, I thought, “this place is a dry wasteland. Everything is dried up and dead.” What will I find to photograph, I wondered.
The silence assaulted my ears. The birds seemed to have flown to southern climes, and all I could hear was my own footsteps, and the rustling of the dry brush in the wind.
Glancing over my shoulder I caught a glimpse of the pond.
It lay like an azure jewel in its setting of dry rushes. It caught the color of the sky and diamonds of light danced upon its surface. I shot a picture.
As I walked I took note of how varied colors can be in a dry landscape; muted shades of gray, tones of beige and taupe. Place this beneath a sky of blue, surround it with purple hills and you have a matchless color scheme.
In winter the sun travels a low arc and although it was early afternoon the shadows were already lengthening, adding yet another element into the scene. The huge Fremont Cottonwoods in the grove had lost most of their leaves and stood starkly naked against the western sky, their long shadows stretching across the trail. The sun’s rays seemed to skim across the landscape igniting the little white fuzzy seedpods of the desert scrub. Plants that had been green in the summer were sun-dried and preserved on their stalks, quite beautiful in death. Suddenly, everywhere was a photograph!
Standing mesmerized by the beauty of the place, I became aware of bird sounds in the trees. I saw the bright flash of a flicker’s wing, and their calls split the air as they flew from tree to tree, alighting, not on the branches, but on the trunks of the trees. Don McLean’s song of “Birds on winter-wood’ rang through my head.
I sat on the blue bench by the river and tuned my senses, just breathing, listening, gazing. I came with few expectations and so felt pleased and much blessed with these many and diverse small gifts. Betty’s journals. 2011