Winter’s art

The bleakness of winter is perfectly balanced by the beauty it conjures. Sometimes it’s predictable: the waterfall will freeze, snow will blanket the ground – but then it comes at you in subtle, unexpected ways.

For me that happens sometimes looking at bare trees, when their elegance and organic structure appear without the distraction of leafy foliage. A friend complimented me recently on my photography and then said, “But what is it with the brown twigs? Maybe you can explain it to me.” (He was talking about my “Beech tree at dusk” photos.) I’m not sure I can explain it. I can find it and put a frame around it to show you, but you have to open yourself up to the beauty of it.

It’s like that with ice too. Everything from the filigrees along a stream bank to broken sheets when it all starts to melt. Some of the shapes are fancy and abstract; others hold a kind of spare elegance that moves me yet calms me. Maybe not everyone can see it right away but once you do, you won’t need an explanation. The camera just catches it for us both; I try to use it with as much precision and integrity as possible.

I hope you enjoy these photos from my weekend.

Location: Catoctin Creek in Myersville, MD.

I couldn’t resist adding these a little over a week later. As high water levels have receded adjacent to the stream, ice has collapsed over an area that was flooded only days ago. The frozen wreckage has a stark, chaotic beauty that few will see before it all disappears.

“In Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind…” Henry David Thoreau


 

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