Sunday, November 14, 2010

Restless Days

Perhaps restless feelings are inevitable at such a liminal time of year as this. We stand on the cusp between autumn and winter, a poignant interval harbinging the end of the old Celtic year on October 31 and the arrival of the new year which awaits us somewhere just over the windy withered hills.

All the migrating wild creatures who are still here in the highlands seem agitated and anxious to be off on their adventures: mallard ducks, gulls and geese to name a scant handful of restless local residents who turn south on the edge of winter.

I'm restless too, and words alone don't "do it" for me at this time of the year; nor do images. Morning after morning, I scribble a few words here and regard them with impatience and disdain. I prowl through old photo archives, looking for an image which adequately describes the dark foggy day beyond the windows, the dried grasses in the garden, the wilting shrubbery, the bare and eloquent trees.

Archive prowlings at the break of day are perilous undertakings at the best of times - volume after volume of photo archives, disk after disk of images, and they all leave something to be desired. At this time of the year, I sometimes ponder flogging the cameras to a pawn shop and taking up soap operas or macrame.

What I really need right now is sunlight and clear skies, several inches of snow and a few hours of happy wandering through the woods on snowshoes: cameras slung around my neck, pockets crammed full of filters, lenses and other photographic trappings, food for the birds.
Out of the wind on such winter potterings lies a fine blue stillness, pools of articulate silence, long resonant conversations with the dreaming trees. Camus wrote that in the depths of winter, he discovered within himself an invincible summer. I suspect that for this old and creaky hen, what lies invincible within is a Lanark Highlands winter in all its sparkling snow bound grandeur.

As above, so below..... On winter mornings before sunrise the sky goes on forever, and one can almost touch the dancing stars overhead. Below the region of the winter stars, snow dunes roll away toward the limitless horizon in billows and swirls and waves, and the world is made new by wind and whiteness.

My parka and snowshoes are out of storage, and they long to set off on adventures. Let Lady Winter come, we are ready.

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