Friday, January 12, 2024

Friday Ramble - January's Performing Arts

A rowdy north wind cavorts across the roof, rollicking through sleeping trees and shrubberies in the garden, making the frozen oak branches ring like bells.

Icicles dangle from the eaves behind the little blue house in the village, glossy confections streaked with gold and silver and filled with tiny bubbles. Once in a while, the wind shakes one loose, and the burnished shards sing like birds as they tumble toward the frozen earth below. The exuberant gusts also dislodge pine needles, brittle twigs and shards of melting ice on the roof, and they skate across the shingles, then plummet clattering over the edge into the snowdrifts wrapping the house. The whole thing sounds like an excerpt from Mike Oldfield's beautiful Tubular Bells.

The icicles communicate the colors and shapes of this day perfectly without any help from me at all. They rattle, chatter and chime, sing Gilbert and Sullivany duets with the wind, (mostly bits from Iolanthe), pretend they are cathedral bells at other times or recite epic stanzas from the Poetic Eddas. The Norse elements of their performance are particularly appropriate - at times it has been snowy enough here for Ragnarök, and we wondered if this is the Fimbulwinter, the walloping winter to end them all. 

Advised to remain indoors, I slip outside for a few minutes anyway and snap photos of nearby trees and icicles, chimneys and sky. Wrapped up and looking for all the world like a yeti (or an abominable something anyway), I stand in the wonderfully pebbled snow in the garden and capture a few images, try to figure out how in the world I can describe everything, the perfect light, the burnished hues of the icicles, the emeralds of the evergreens, the blues and violets of the snow, the buttery siding on my neighbor's kitchen wall, the scarlet of a male cardinal as it flies into the cedar hedge. 

With all the elemental performances being given this morning, no words, or at least not very many words, are needed from this old hen. I can just stand here in a snowdrift with the camera, get out of its way (and my own way) and let it see the world without trying to impose on its thoughtful and loving journey.

Out of the blue, a thought comes as I turn to go back inside before anyone notices that I am no longer in there, but rather out here. It is the images that are capturing me this morning, and not me capturing them. It's a Zen thing.