Here is a collection of images I have taken of plants and landscapes the past days as winter descends and the first frost arrives.
A week ago I posted Wisteria photo taken the same day, so enamoured I was of its floriferous and fragrant presence. I called it a mature spring dream.
Today, just one week later I had the opportunity to observe a unique scientific reality—that is—higher elevations have cooler temperatures. And that dramatically affects the visual coming of spring.
I live in essentially the same easting and northing for the Wisteria photo and these weather photos below. All have been taken within a 5 mile by 5 mile square on a map. I can observe the weather at 500 meters above sea level—the Wisteria–no snow fall at all–only a cold spring rain.
And I can observe the weather at 1,500 meters above sea level which I did today. My easy access to these very different elevations is possible due to the well developed cog-wheel train system in operation year round in all weather conditions.
Today, at 1,500 meters and higher, I saw no crocus, no dandelion, no green. But I did have the joyous fun of a snowfall in mid Spring—large flakes in blizzard-like conditions up to 12” deep and sticking to all coniferous and deciduous trees and shrubs.
The snow hasn’t fallen in the valley yet this year, so all I can do is…
The temperature lowered, the clouds lowered, the precipitation began…then the gray. Lower and lower came that crazy gray infinite, reducing my vision…that enveloping grayness, proving how limited is our human sense of sight. Grayed out–sense of sight, sense of balance, even sense of gravity…dissolving…bit by bit…
…then the snow. I have carried a dream, maybe just a memory for decades, more than fifty years–strangely vivid–I was told to count backwards from 10 and inhale slowly and deeply–it was a black mask over my nose and mouth and it was ether that I inhaled–I saw the gray background turn darker to almost black and gradually it became filled with white dots–soft white dots–like snowflakes not quite in focus–that is the dream and each time it returns, it has a comforting subtitle–this is how death will come, quietly like a snowfall beginning.
Oh, but this is just a late spring snowfall–it’s not death–it’s not the return of winter…but, oh, for the briefest of moments, it was strangely exciting to feel, but inevitably, not sustainable.
…too busy…I almost missed Spring…11…next…last
But winter tries to make a comeback. The snow descends, lower and lower–winter tries vainly to re-establish its deathly grip…but I wonder, is it death, or is it purity? When about winter, how can the deaths of so many plants be so beautiful to behold when covered in white?
Nobody truly knows just what may be around the next corner…can’t see, can’t hear, don’t know…such are our limitations.
Friday, 24Jan2014, I was, on foot, taking a landscape journey–a split second of which is in the above photograph.
As I took the photo, I thought just as we do not know what lies around the next corner at anytime, we do not know either the time of death or thereafter…but we put the best shine on it.
So I took the photograph, smiled and continued walking.
It was beautiful on the day…and the memories still are beautiful!