Saturday, January 06, 2007

Blowing Brown

A bizarre and distressing winter is this one. At a time of the year when I should be moving slowly through the woods in Lanark on snowshoes or skis, I am standing in waterproof boots and anorak, adrift in a sea of brown vegetation, soggy leaves and forlorn puddles, scanning a distant hillside with hardly a scrap of white to be seen on it.

Global warming or the puckish choreography of El Nino? Whatever the weather pundits at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration are saying about the magnitude of this year's current oscillations in the Pacific Ocean, the views from my hill in the highlands are dissonant and depressing, and they seem all wrong to me. At this time of year, the fields on the Two Hundred Wood are usually a magnificent flowing desert sculptured from snow and ice - a stark and pristine realm which is all billows, swirls and gracefully rippling dunes. That is the way they ought to be, and I should not be looking at all this brown in the landscape right now - I should not be carrying an umbrella on my walks in the village and wearing a raincoat and duck boots rather than a parka and deep winter Baffin boots.

This week, I have been mourning the disappearance of December's brief snowing, and as I squelch along on my waterlogged rambles, the exquisite architectural forms of the milkweed pods in field and hedgerow have been a comfort. I've no idea why they give me such solace, but they do, and I never tire of looking at them.


Roswila said...

I don't know about "wise" comment, but most certainly grateful. Your blog has filled my empty eyes (without which emptiness we could not/do not see) with such beauty.

It's been unseasonably warm here in New York City, too. Here's a silly ku I wrote about it:

a neighbor strolls
comfortable in shorts
where's winter

Anonymous said...

I can see why these milkweed pods give you comfort, the browns,greys and white are tranquil winter colours - calming to look at. It's unseasonably warm weather here also with little in the way of frost. At least my landscape doesn't look too unusual though as we get very little snow even in a normal winter. Rowan

Anonymous said...

i like milkweed pods too. I think it's the bit of silk that always seems to be blowing out from them, even late in the winter.

Kim Antieau said...

Oooh! I remember these from my childhood in Michigan. This photo brought back memories of how soft the insides were on my fingers. Wow. I had forgotten.

It is indeed a peculiar year. I hope it is not a sign of things to come.