Here we are on the cusp between autumn and winter. There is an element of impatience in the voices of Canada geese as they fly over the house, and the other migratory beings who are still here seem agitated and anxious to be off on their adventures.
I'm restless too, and words alone don't quite "do it" for me; nor do images, at least most of the time. Morning after morning, I scribble a few words and regard them with mild disdain. I prowl through old photos, looking for an image that adequately describes the dark foggy daybreak beyond the windows, the frosted garden grasses and wilting shrubbery, the bare and eloquent trees.
Archive prowling at the break of day is a perilous undertaking through volume after volume of photo archives and disk after disk of images, all leaving something to be desired. At times, I ponder burning my files, flogging the cameras to a pawn shop and taking up soap operas or macrame.
What I need at such times is sunlight and clear skies, a few inches of snow and an hour or two of wandering around the woods on snowshoes: cameras around my neck, pockets crammed with filters, lenses and other photographic trappings, food for the birds and Spencer's homemade doggy biscuits too. I will not be well enough to do much wandering this winter, but I make the journey often in my thoughts. There are years of autumn rambles to revisit, and every step I take is a step through treasure.
Sometimes, just sometimes, what we need is already here and waiting for us, and no matter how we are feeling when we encounter it, it stops us in our tracks, leaves us wide-eyed and stammering, so overcome with the beauty around us that we can hardly breathe. Old barns and whiskery trees, sandhill cranes serenading each other and slow dancing in frosted farm fields at sunrise, herons calling goodbye as they rise from their summer haunts and head south - timeless, enchanted and liminal, all of it, and occasionally the magic rubs off on us as we potter about.
Out of the north wind, there's fine blue stillness and pools of articulate silence, long resonant conversations with dreaming trees and old stones. Camus wrote that in the depths of winter, he discovered within himself an invincible summer. I suspect that for this old hen, what lies invincible within is an early highland winter in all its grace and grandeur. Cancer and chemo notwithstanding, frosted leaves underfoot, geese overhead and hills with morning light shining through them still catch me by the throat and leave me breathless, every single time. I just wish I could find a way to say it as it ought to be said.