Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Find Yourself In This Picture

In the summer, you're never alone. Birds sing, bees buzz, grasshoppers jump out of the field ahead of you as you walk. The sun is there when you wake up, and with you as you eat dinner on the porch.

Then there's fall. It's windy and the trees seem awfully alive. Raining leaves down on you as you walk under their branches, or dropping them all on the ground in a neat circle while you aren't looking, a discarded summer ball gown.

But winter comes before you know it's here. The clouds get all dramatic and the sky's no longer bright-- now each color you see is tinged with grey. And you're alone. The living things are hibernating underground or underwater, and the wind whips down the lanes moving nothing but the rattling bare tree branches. It's quiet in a way that's unimaginable in the other seasons, and the air is cold in your lungs.

When you walk out into a frozen field full of cows, you feel like the only living thing around even though the cows are there. They are saving up, and they stare quietly at you, willing you not to break the silence. Not wondering who you are. But you know. You are you on ice. You distilled into only you and you alone. Facing the wind and the bright cold sun that will soon set.

I took this photo last weekend. There's a bald eagle that usually sits in a dead tree just out of this frame to the left. When we got out of our cars to take his picture, he took wing and flew across the lake, slow and swoopy and showing off. This photo was an attempt to catch him in flight, but you can see that he's not there.

This seems like one of those pictures that rich people in New York City would blow up really big on one wall of the bathroom in their tiny million dollar apartment. I wish I could reproduce it larger in this space. But look into the eyes of that longhorn in the middle. The only longhorn left after the others were auctioned off. She must have hidden somewhere on market day, when everybody else was rounded up. But that was months ago. And she's still here-- waiting for winter. Bring it on. Look into her eyes. She knows. And somehow this picture lets me know, too, in a way that standing there didn't. The sky and her stare tell me that the lonely ice is just around the corner. She's cool and clear as ice, and I can be, too. I'm ready to find myself again in that cold quiet.

(P.S. I know that I'm talking about the seasons a lot lately, but you'll have to indulge me. It feels like we're at a tipping point here-- things are really changing.)

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