You can walk in a dream while you are awake; just walk in the misty morning of a forest! ~Mehmet Murat Ildan
Yesterday was sunny and hot, a perfect August day. Then wild windy storms blew in, pouring rain over the hot earth – wisps of steam rose into the air as the storm moved on. This morning, I awoke to clouds of fog and mist and felt as if I were still in a dream. Angel and I took a short walk but turned home sooner than usual, concerned about safety on the foggy road.
The rain amplified the green of grass and trees along the shady woodland edges.
Leaves and acorns of chestnut oak
Entrance to woodland
The fallen tree still hanging over the lower garden has kept me from working there, but the fog softened the shaggy edges and lent the garden an abandoned romantic quality.
Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ in the garden
Garden in fog
Fallen oak hanging over garden
The Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ was bowed down by the heavy rains, making the path under it impassible.
A spider wasted no time spinning a beautiful web on the deck.
Even the brightly colored hillside garden shimmered softly, subdued in the misty light.
Rudbeckia ‘Viette’s Little Suzy’ fell down the steps after the heavy rain but continues to bloom, unconcerned.
I have spent much of this summer composing a cello concerto that will be premiered next year. There is more work to do, but as I walked through the mist this morning, I thought of Benjamin Britten’s description of the process. “Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house. Slowly you see more details of the house – the color of the slates and bricks, the shape of the windows. The notes are the bricks and the mortar of the house.” May you find clarity in the fog and enjoy the misty beauty of your dreams.
moonlight disappears down the hills
mountains vanish into fog
and I vanish into poetry ~Sanober Kahn
Winter, an artist’s sketch in charcoal,
so clearly etched against a cloud filled sky . . .
~ from the song “Winter”
After weeks of “real” winter, complete with snow, ice, and sleet, the rains came yesterday. Thick layers of snow and ice began to crumble and melt in the suddenly warm temperatures, assaulted by alternating pounding rainstorms and soft drizzles. By evening, a fog had arisen between the melting snow and the warm air and swirled upwards throughout the night. This morning, mist and fog lay heavily in the woods and along the streams, turning the winter landscape into a mysteriously beautiful January thaw.
I felt as if I were moving through a dream as I walked through the woods. The dark trunks of immense oaks stood like sentinels guarding a secret kingdom in the mist, fading to gray in the distance. Drops of water clung to delicate twigs and buds like sprays of crystals. Snow lingered in pockets, slowly seeping into the garden beds and revealing fresh green growth.
“January thaw is an observed but unexplained temperature rise in mid-winter found in mid-latitude North America.” (Wikipedia) The thaw is generally centered around the date of January 25, when a rise of temperatures by 10 degrees Fahrenheit occurs for about a week. The Farmer’s Almanac notes its common designation as “false spring” and compares it to the phenomenon of Indian Summer, the predictable surge of warm weather in autumn. This year, certainly, the thaw is more than 10 degrees warmer than usual; yesterday’s temperature reached 50 F and today will be a balmy 64 F.
The sun is shining now, the mist a memory. I intend to celebrate the January thaw by working in the garden while dreaming of the arrival of “real spring.” Enjoy the morning walk in the woods with me. (Click on any photo to trigger the gallery view)
Leaves in misty woods
There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other is the seed catalogues. – Hal Borland