The temperature here was near 20 degrees Fahrenheit when I walked down to the mailbox yesterday morning. Every tree, from the tall firs across the valley to the mixed woods scattered across the nearby hillsides, wore a precise coating of frost. Of course, so did most everything—to paraphrase the annoying radio announcer in the film Groundhog Day, “It was COLD out there!”
After I’d put a birthday card in the box for my sister I went back to the house and got my camera. Clear, fresh mornings like that aren’t as common as we remember, and shouldn’t be wasted. I shot pictures for close to an hour, although it seemed far shorter than that. Time’s personality changes during creative concentration, just as it does when you’re with a friend and neither of you are aware of the hour.
The subjects I chose were the usual—a small pine that always appears to have grown substantially since the last time I took a good, close look; the tall grasses with their chaotic poses; the rose bushes, more chaotic yet; the pasture across the road, full of frosty teasel; our neighbor’s hay shed; and the frost itself, making it all possible with jewel-like highlights of sapphire and topaz, smothered in a dazzling white brightness.
Perhaps I was too busy photographing to notice (I certainly didn’t care) that these are the same things I’ve shot here for twenty-six years, every time snow falls or we get frost.
There are currently a pair of ruts developing on the gravel road (if anyone at the county road department reads this, please take note) but I’m not in one, not photographically, not at the moment, not with so much visual fine print covering the pages of everyday life, and every day a story waiting to be read again.