Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Snow Path, Snow River

It didn’t really snow today, the sky just stayed immobile, smooth and even as careful plasterwork, almost the same colour as the ground, so that in the distance, you could hardly tell earth and sky apart. Every so often a few light flakes of plaster would drift downward, as if a little too much whitewash had been applied, the excess flaked off, as it dried. Apart from that, both sky and earth were motionless. And silent. It’s harder of course to walk through snow than it is over bare ground, with old grass turned wintery tawny yellow, and the dried stalks, once an off-white faded colour, like tasteful lacy dresses the kind our grandmothers kept, packed in tissue paper in a wardrobe – the stalks with moisture embedded in their stems by frost and snow, now dark brown. Even clumps of spruce trees on the hills wore a scattering of snow, seed pearls, turning them a paler green.

Footprints of dog and human showed that someone else had walked this track today, or even yesterday. I would have liked some snowy declaration from the sky, some burst of temper or of benediction who can say, but the sky held in its crystal feelings, turned away from us, bided its time or rested, gathering its energy while looking for some direction it might head for, leaving barometers poised to strike a balance, to adjust their needles, sensitive and delicate, all to give us information, to assuage our hunger to know the future, guess at how things will be, perhaps from love of future or perhaps from a triumphant need to know, to be prepared, not to be caught out or surprised by anything, the closest we can come, or edge in the direction of – control.

Under the road bridge over the old railway, its inner arch coated and patched with a creamy white substance, a chalky deposit that drips and forms little shoots, downward-pointing, of stalactites, but which have disappeared now, most likely frozen and fallen off.

Thin yellow stalks of dried grasses emerge from the snow, throw delicate lines of cream colour across the smooth unchanging whiteness. Further on, at the rail bridge across the river, a small machine is parked, surrounded by a high mesh fence that has a notice pinned to it, declaring it to be a site works, where protective head and footwear, as well as ear and eye protection, must be worn.

Down the slope to the river, islands of river bank that collapsed in recent floods, lie in the water flow, each with their own covering of snow. 

Even the stones by the river on the patch of flat ground like a beach, where the river bends, even they are snow-covered. And further on, where tree limbs lean out across the water, they have their own shapely snow strips, following precisely each turn and angle of the branches. 

Frozen water covering. And below them, the moving water of the river. It is the only thing that moves, apart from some flickers of small dark birds, skimming the water and disappearing into dark stones, dark branches, just vanishing.


The Solitary Walker said...

A lovely walk, dritanje. Witnessing nature like this, observing it as closely as we can, feeling it, writing about it, drawing it, photographing it, celebrating it — by doing these things we pull it into ourselves, don't we, become a part of it in some small way. It helps us complete our own small selves.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

Today, on the radio I heard a writer say, "we come first to writing with our eyes".Hadn't thought of it like that but it seems that's what you are doing.
Your snow is so so beautiful.I love to see the river winding away....and the snow laden branches are gorgeous!

dritanje said...

solitary walker - I like your idea that we 'pull nature into ourselves' when we express our experience of it artistically in some way. It also makes me think of how, when we have visited, lived or interacted in some way with a place, it lingers in our consciousness which 'grows' because of this, and yes, maybe that is a kind of completion of our 'small selves'.

An interesting idea, forest dream weaver, that you heard on the radio. It seems to me, when I'm writing about a place I have been, that what I've seen is retained in some place beyond the small amount of surface memory we use when going about our daily lives. And when I write, I can access a larger visual memory, which I had 'forgotten' when I sat down to write. Maybe everything we've experience is retained somewhere.
Glad you liked the snowy branch, it did look rather stunning!
M xx

Anonymous said...

Lovely. Wee Jess loves walking along the bridge, it made me smile. Plenty of plaster decending from Heaven at the moment. Gorgeous pic of branch. Serene describes it all aptly.

The Solitary Walker said...

"And the things, even as they pass, / understand that we praise them. / Transient, they are trusting us / to save them—us, the most transient of all. / As if they wanted in our invisible hearts / to be transformed / into—oh, endlessly—into us." Rainer Maria Rilke

Anonymous said...

I love the first black and white photo...wonderful river reflections and amazing serie.