I took these pictures of tree bark and lichens during my first walk after being sick in bed for a week.
I was tired and loopy, and really only capable of seeing things at eye level.
I took these pictures across the street from a school where all the students were being picked up by their parents. I wonder how many of them looked across the street at the strangely dressed lady with the camera lens three inches from a random tree.
At least I wasn’t TALKING to the tree this time. I don’t think.
But I can’t be sure. Everything was still a little fuzzy that day.
My vision was even a little weird: it was, in fact, an awful lot like the way the macro setting on my camera works. A few things were in sharp, almost too intense focus. Everything else was kind of a blur. It’s kind of amazing that I didn’t get hit by a car when I was crossing the street. Good thing my neighborhood is pretty quiet.
Portland continues to sport a mostly green and gray palette this week. The days have been dark, but at least it isn’t very cold. The mossy, muddy park a few blocks from my house continues to beckon, and I go with my camera so I can see in new ways.
This vine grows in whorls and helices on a fence along the way. I can’t wait to see what sort of vine it is: right now it looks like all the other trees and shrubs–gray bark, green lichens, greener moss.
These wet days make the moss jewel-bright. I want to wear a skirt that color.
Over the weekend we had a windstorm, which knocked down a bunch of branches. This one fell onto the park bench. Taking pictures of it, I had to wonder:
Did someone intentionally choose paint the exact color of those lichens for the benches? Or was it a happy accident?
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that cold wet weather is my favorite walking weather, not only because I don’t have to share the park with as many people, but also because I find the low light and cool air soothing. It clears my head and helps me think. Which makes me think I’ll probably never move away from the Pacific Norwthwest.
I don’t feel happy and festive this time of year. A lot of the time I feel the opposite. It’s dark and cold, traffic is terrible, people are crazy with the over-spending and the tacky sweaters and the obnoxious music and the jingle bells. My family is far away, too, which creates a whole thorny tangle of emotions that I’m not going to bore y’all with. I spent yesterday feeling melancholy and reading Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair–which meant alternately cackling and weeping whilst drinking too much tea.
But this morning the sun came up on a frozen world, and when I was getting wood for the fire I saw how pretty everything was outside. Then I came inside and my eyes fell on this:
This is my favorite spot in our house. Our house was built in the 20’s, and since then has changed hands quite a few times. At one point it was a restaurant, and the restaurant owners cut a hole in the wall to pass orders and plates through. Later the hole was walled over on one side, creating this cool little nook. Looking at it always fills me with a sense of tranquility, especially in the morning when soft light falls across it.
Light. This is the season when I think a lot about light–the sun’s light, of course, but also the light within all of us, the light of spirit and hope. Funny how much attention I pay to something when it seems scarce, huh?
When the light changes, I see things I didn’t see before. The young branches on the Japanese maple are red, not brown like I might have assumed. I’m maybe not as optimistic as I thought I was, now that the days are shorter. I love the Stepspawn more than I realized, but I sort of hate that one sweater I wear all the time. And even though she often makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a barbecue fork, I really miss my mom.
Also, chain link fences are more interesting in the cold.
And even firewood can be pretty sometimes.
Of course I don’t need ice to realize that leaves are incredible, but I can’t get enough of the crunchy crystallized leaves, so here’s another one for y’all:
I spent a lot of time on the phone with a friend yesterday, mulling over why I always go a little crazy in December. Feeling sort of weepy, worrying, as I always do this time of year, that maybe this time I’m actually heading down in to depression again, like back in college when I was depressed for several years.
And she said to me, “But you have friends around you now, and we won’t let you go down there alone.” ‘Bout made me blubber like a baby who dropped her binky. Her words didn’t take away the weepy, but they did fill me with a deep sense of comfort and gratitude. It’s good to be reminded of how much I have to hold on to, and be grateful for.
Normally we don’t get out big snow until after Christmas–apparently this is an early present. It started yesterday morning–when we were on our way to get our holiday tree. That greatly complicated our plans, and since I’ve had a cold, I stayed home and kept the fire burning. But the Hubster took the kids up the road to sled down the side of the dam. Look how pretty all the trees were.
This morning it was still cold (for our part of Oregon) and everything is frozen, covered in a few inches of rare snow. Of course the spawn are off school this morning–as soon as it was light the Drama Princess was bundled up and out the door. Can’t blame her . . .