Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Old wood

The balmy weather of the past few days is returning to more seasonal temperatures. With that change comes a pushy northwest wind. The last few articles of light weight clothing that didn’t get put away around the end of October will finally go into storage this time, not to return until at least spring.

An off-trail walk around the forest shows me little that is not brown, so textures are catching my eye right now, more than colors. In spring and summer I look for color, usually a color that is not green. This time of year, looking for something not brown doesn’t result in seeing very much, but when I shift my focus to think about texture instead of color, there’s a lot to see.

Today I found this old stump of a long-dead, long-chopped down tree. It’s practically gray with age, and years of drying have created cracks in the wood, much like the frost cracks in the boulders that dot Roundtop Mtn. Or perhaps you prefer that it looks like an aerial photo of some sprawling riverbed.

I just liked how it looked, its peaks and valleys, its cracks and discoloration. I’ve probably passed by this stump hundreds of times without noticing it, but in early December, after the green is gone and before the snow has fallen, suddenly it stands out. That’s partly why I like this time of year. Things that are hidden by the riot of summer or the blanket of winter come into their own.

Small things, things that lack the splash of a wild geranium or a Blackburnian warbler no longer take a back seat. They have a time to stand out as well. I enjoy looking for something interesting in the unexceptional. I feel some kinship with them, I think. I am not a wild geranium or the Blackburnian warbler of the human tribe. I’m a lot more like this old stump, the kind you pass by hundreds of times without a second glance. Except today I didn’t pass it by.

No comments: