Exuberance is beauty. —William Blake
The bluebird carries the sky on his back.
—Henry David Thoreau
I hadn’t expected to see this color combination when I passed through West Yellowstone, Montana, but thinking about it again reminds me of similarly unexpected riots of color I’ve encountered—the freshly-painted yellow house that’s not far from us, for example, or a fading green one I photographed in Alaska, its weathered exterior a broad canvas for blooming Fireweed flowers.
Each of these places experiences dark, gloomy weather for several months out of the year, along with shortened daylight hours (Alaska) snow (Montana) or rain (Oregon), and it’s no coincidence that people fight back against such depressing conditions by surrounding themselves with large splashes of bright colors.
I drove to Thompson’s Mills yesterday morning, and thinking about it today I’m pretty sure the
bad significant change in weather that happened then affected me. Even a large mug of strong coffee failed to kick-start the internal photographer, so I left my equipment in the office and wandered around, hoping some thing would stand out and break the atmosphere that had settled over me.
Behind one of the mill’s barns a rotting 1977 Chevrolet pickup sits in the weeds, awaiting an uncertain fate. It’s too far gone to restore (and too expensive for the park’s budget), but a great place for insect nests (be ready to duck if you put up the hood!). It’s also an abstract canvas, and as I discovered it had just enough juice left to turn over my own creative motor.