3.06.2011

WINTER WATER


Are you in or are you out? That's what I kept thinking about winter, as I trudged along on a frigid beach walk, the wind doing nothing to sand down my mood, though my face was taking a shellacking. It is that strange, tentative, brave time of the northern year. The witch hazel is brilliant; snowdrops are peeping forth; seaweed is looking acidly fresh; yellow crocus glint in the dead leaves. Geese are migrating; the cardinals have arrived.


By the time I got round the bend to the pond, I was grimly determined not to succumb to the temptation to hitchhike (though I wonder if anyone up here would stop? or has ever seen a hitchhiker?) Then something along the edge of the pond caught my eye, and I stretched my turtled neck up a bit from my coat collar to look further, and there, at the edge of the water, was a miracle of laced and crenellated ice.


I can only imagine the conditions that made this display possible. Everything soaked, drenched, dripping, and then a sudden snap? Water pooling around the base of cattails, and then suddenly upthrusting with a plummet in temperature? It was breathtakingly beautiful--such an in between place--frozen, and thawing. The pond was open; a current of water moved rapidly across the middle.


As I gazed, images of Dale Chihuly's glass sculptures bubbled across my memory; I could see how Andy Goldsworthy could find inspiration here. Some of the ice had turned into rock crystal carved around broken twigs.


Some of it had mounded, bearing an eerie resemblance to jellyfish. There was the promise of summer, of the sand littered with moony translucent discs catching the sun as the tide creeps out, leaving them beached.

How odd is the behavior of ice. I don't understand it--the science of it--I wish someone would explain how it creeps and thrusts and drapes and heaves, how it hangs on while around it everything else melts. Its magic is not, however, beyond comprehension.


I broke into a trot, raced home for my camera, not to lose the light of the setting sun, which of course played tricks on me anyway. My fingers froze, but at least I could share this sight...that is the motivation behind so much photography, isn't it? I want to show you....you won't believe what I saw....


So here's my slow love moment--and I did feel a pang in my heart, a stab of love for this gorgeous world, and a longing for it to go on forever, and an ache because it won't. Even as I want this moment to last, I am aware of that I want an end to the cold, just as, months from now, I will want an end to the heat...But there is the ice to tell me that nothing will ever be this beautiful again. Until something else is. Winter's end, teetering with abandon at the edge of the stage, taking her final bows in this long curtain call of a season's close. There will probably be more snow, more ice, more frost, but here, meditate on a glimpse of time thwarted, thaw stopped cold.


67 comments:

Sonia Florian said...

How beautiful! Thank you.

Christa said...

This is just stunning - both the images and your words.

I grew up on marshes and thank you so much for bringing the memories of the magic found there back to me...

pve design said...

So glad you shared these with us as all I seem to see are mounds of dirty snow, and now I think I shall look for the beauty of the melting as some sort of natural art show.
pve

Lindsey said...

Breathtaking ... "I did feel a pang in my heart, a stab of love for this gorgeous world, and a longing for it to go on forever, and an ache because it won't" is gorgeous articulation of a feeling that often stops me cold, makes me gasp, and fills me with an inchoate but powerful emotion.
Thank you. xo

pavlova said...

Breathtaking indeed! I concur with Lindsey.....you have such a talent to convey feelings with words. Thank you for this lovely post as winter wanes here in New England.

Madgew said...

I wondered if you carried a camera on all your walks now I know you ran home to get it which means you live close to this wondrous beauty. These photos are pure magic. Thanks for starting my day off with such beauty.

Bruce Barone said...

Beautiful!

I was thinking of Goldsworthy, too. And Christo!

by Joan Gage said...

Stunning photographs! I would love to know what kind of camera you use (although I do realize that the photographer's eye, not the camera, is what makes these photos so special.)

Anonymous said...

Wow!

vicki said...

stunning images.

i, too, had mysterious ice event, here in the garden. Approximately 2 inches of melted snow had collected in the heavy steel bird bath during the balmy afternoon. Temps dropped 30 degrees overnight and when i went out to check on bird station i found a large thumb-shaped & sized column rising up out of the middle of the ice in the bird bath. i was so flummoxed i just stood staring at it. Finally took hold with my fingers and tested: it was solid. so was almost of the rest of the water in the bowl--just a trickle in the middle.

i also marvel at the physics at play--and wonder, every winter, how individual drips get frozen and collected into those rippling icicles. but these images of yours and the bird bath "thumb" really have me scratching my head.

Blue said...

Lovely images - the one with the bullrushes my favourite.

Spring in Atlanta has begun with pear and cherry blossom and there's new, almost electrically lime green leaflets on some tree. We've already had a chance (a mere day or two) to take off the winter coats - probably makes you want to throw a chip or two of ice my way!

mary said...

Dominique, thank you, once again, for making me pause and start my day immersed in the beauty of our world and the miracles of creation. Thank you for telling me notice and give thanks. Mary

Ann Martin said...

Simply stunning, both Mother Nature and your photographic skills. I'm glad you took the time to run for your camera.

Verdigris Vie said...

What a beautiful post. You know those beautiful moments happen when you decide to walk a few feet farther, or take the road less traveled. It's wonderful that you captured this on film...

Vie

Big Hug Studio said...

These are beautiful. Who knew ice could resemble art?

Sandie said...

Beautiful images. I have found after living on Orcas Island in Washington for the past few years that winter is even more beautiful than the other seasons. I don't get cabin fever as long as I get out and hike everyday.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Emom said...

Beautiful images....smiles.

dtsimage said...

Exceptional. Extraordinary.

Ice formations, like snowflakes, are never to repeated again.

You are truly gifted.

Dona M said...

As I sit here watching the weather turn around yet again, it was 52 earlier and now is 30 and raining ice, I am returning to look at your photos a second time. You captured the beauty of the ice and your words reminded me to seek that beauty. Thank you for that.

Pamela said...

How lovely!

Layanee said...

Expect the unexpected. These are beautiful.

kathi said...

Amazing photographs......... definitely an Andy Goldsworthy moment.

mama p said...

~smile~

Athena said...

Thank you, as always. You capture the pure joy & love of which you write. Thankfully you are with us to share these moments & bring us brief 'moments in time'.

Privilege of Parenting said...

Lindsey sent me, and I'm glad she did. Such lovely images reminding me of ancient Marches in Chicago, so far from the night blooming Jasmine of my current March in LA, yet absolutely congruent with the aching beauty of impermanence.

lifeafterbenjamin said...

Yes, Lindsey sent me too, as she so generously does. These are incredible, capturing that breathtaking "You'll never believe what I saw". Thank you for running, freezing, writing, sharing...

Lost in Provence said...

I so loved this entry yesterday. Received this poem this morning as part of Daily Lit's "Poem a day" and it seemed too perfect not to mention. A different time of year but similar emotions:


THE POND

By Jim Powell

On the back way
there are planks laid
across the swampy places,
jet black loam where water
pools in the dents,

a place on the path
I double back to
and catch myself returning
mirrored in a sheet
of water, the world

doubled back
in the glassy pool:
wind animates the leaves
and the glint shaken from them
winks flickering

in the pond dreaming
at the secret center
past the last screen
of ferns and creepers, bramble
entanglements

and periphrastic
evasions this place
a steady witness for
the rehearsal of a ghostly
life in signs

and tokens, clairvoyant
the way dreams
betray us to ourselves
in a changeling masquerade
uncovering

another nature
another self
to read in the face there
in the water till reflection
troubles the mirror.

Jill said...

Thank you for running back for your camera, these are just stunning!!!

Tree said...

Stunning!

Thank you for sharing your eye to help open ours. Thank you for shairng your words to help form ours.

Thea said...

amazing photographs! i, too, can't wait for the warmth of spring,but there is something to be said for these gorgeous ice formations. have you ever been to niagara falls in february? yes, it's freezing, but worth it to see the ice formations. (go to the canadian side)

SweetRetreat said...

Stunning photographs and writing. I see a small flotilla of sail boats in the first. Ice is amazing, although difficult to appreciate when dealing with icy conditions.

There is hope of spring in the air, in spite of a major storm on the weekend. The warmth of the sun eventually wins.

Thank you for the reminder to stop and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

so beautiful, peaceful and appreciated-----for you: go to frazil ice yosemite and you'll smile at perfect yosemite and the west turning for spring

Dana Udall-Weiner said...

What stunning photos and delicious words. That capture the change and yet freeze a moment. Beautiful.

Rochelle said...

Stunning formations like nothing I have ever seen. Thank you for taking us with you on your walks and inside your head as you contemplate things big & small. Lovely.

Karena said...

Oh Dominique this is some of the most beautiful photography of this nature I have seen in some time. Very moving and poignant prose!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Anonymous said...

If you want to know about ice, read the wonderful book by Peter Hoeg "Smila's Sense of Snow". I loved being transported into her world and imagine you will as well. Thank you for the beautiful images!

Cristina said...

totally mesmerizing and gorgeous too.
thanks for enduring the frozen fingers for our benefit!

Ashling said...

Of all the posts I've read on Slow Love Life, this is for me the most beautiful, evocative, poetic, exquisite....your photos and words entwine in a slow dance that brings tears to the eyes.

Denise said...

Absolutely exquisite, both your photographs and your words. And brava to you for heeding the call--and slowing to love the life that sat right in front of you.

c said...

isn't Nature amazing?

while spring gets lots of attention (and why shouldn't it, how wonderful to see those first crocuses under crinkly brown leaves), and summer is just about everyone's idea of relaxaton (vacation time, bbqs) while autumn gets rave reviews for brilliant foliage under deep blue skies, very few of us consider winter on a par with any other season, except for skiers who appreciate it because of snow. But,

I have never, ever, seen or read a more awe inspiring ode to ice.

Thank you!

[btw, I echo so many others - your eye for photographs is superb]

lifeonthecutoff said...

My goodness, these are breathtaking photos. I am so glad you ran home to get your camera. I love the fierceness and the gentleness of these images frozen in time by the lens of your camera.

Priscilla said...

Thank you, Ms. Browning, for the beautiful images and sweet words. They describe the way I feel about the season that is disliked by most but most loved by me. Peace.

Vivien said...

Wonderful photographs, and illuminating.

A Life Unhurried said...

As Jill said, thank you for going back for your camera. I only wish I was the one to have seen these extraordinary works of nature myself. For me, it is nature's beauty that inspires my images. Thank you, Dominique for sharing. -Grace

online degree said...

You give wonderful image of winter water. I like to watch this images again and again. Its magical nature beauty. This beauty is amazing and unbelievable.

Cherrie said...

I've just wandered into your blog via a foray to Sam Jaffe's newest caterpillar website. Your grateful eye for the momentary beauty in frozen landscapes echoes my own. Such lovely forms and light you've framed for us! I invite you to visit my own slow meanderings and musings through the wildlands that shape each of my days, http://sense-of-place-concord.blogspot.com/.

House Design said...

I love the photos. I love the melting of the snow. It signals that summer is coming.

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