Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Winter Break

Putting together a terrarium, and it needs a little stone house within, so the search took me to the river trail. I needed some small flat stones for the tiny structure.

I'm just a point-and-shooter, but glad the camera was with me.  Don't know if any of this will inspire artwork, but my brain got relaxed for certain.

Found a lot of surprises there:
First, it was unseasonably warm, and therefore incredibly sloppy for mid-winter.

Maybe that's why I was the sole human around.  It was silent except for the sound of the river, and the spittery noise of sand flying off my shoes into the dry Cottonwood leaves ahead of me.

Second, the colors were stunning.  Didn't expect grey, but also did not expect such a vivid variety.  And was also taken by the pungent, wonderful smell of wet Cottonwood--which is the best odor--but which suffused the air more strongly than I've ever experienced. A smell from childhood; of jaunts down the Highline Canal.

Inscape/Instress--today it was thick!

Third, there was still plenty of snow, and pretty much just rocks that were round.  I did find some flat ones--but only five.

The photo at left shows part of the waterless riverbed.

Fourth, another unexpected sight--Cottonwood buds.  These were on the ground.  Guess the twigs fell off the tree for some reason.  The bits of sienna-edged, yellow green were a welcome sight amid the brown leaves.
Cottonwood trees rank at the top of my favorites. They smell great, they have bark like an elephant's skin, and they make thick, leathery leaves that clatter like wooden bells. Whether they are green and windblown or yellow and getting kicked around, the sound is most satisfying.

And a dead one created the fifth surprise of the day: the sculptural Cottonwood at left--which was at least fifteen feet in height! The dead ones also turn white when the bark falls away and look amazing and ghostly in the moonlight, scattered across the landscape like giant bleached bones.

Home now, gluing the stone house together.  If the terrarium turns out, I'll post a pic of it.

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