The Year’s Last, Loveliest Smile

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
~WIlliam Cullen Bryant

muddy shoeAutumn is officially here in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve been busy lately filming nature’s habitats for my A Year in Penn’s Woods project. On this past solstice weekend, I filmed scenes at a lake in the county park near our home. This lake was dredged and restored a year ago and is again filled with a rich diversity of plants and wildlife. Summertime was over, but the fish were still jumpin’ in the lake. Geese, ducks, and a beautiful blue heron graced the water. Yes, I lost a shoe to the mudflats that morning, having ventured too close to the water to find the right spot for filming. The water saturated mud sucked the tightly laced shoe right off of my foot and soaked through the other one; it seemed more important at the time to save the photography equipment rather than the hapless shoe. Undeterred, I continued filming in muddy socks on firmer ground. Lesson learned for future ventures.

Autumn solstice moon

The night of the solstice was magical; a moon slightly past full held court in the heavens wreathed by feathery garlands of clouds. The night was warm; the thrum and buzz of cicada and frog song created the illusion of a summer night instead of the advent of the autumn solstice. As the frog and insect chorus died away, the late evening concert was completed by the soft hoot of an owl in the woods. Although I am still editing the video footage I captured, I grabbed some still shots out of the video to share.  Enjoy!

All photos © 2013 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved.

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

A Song for the Winter Solstice

Winter, an artist’s sketch in charcoal, so clearly etched against a cloud filled sky. . .

Snowy WoodsIn celebration of the moment when the earth turns on its axis back to the light of the sun.  This year, in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs on December 22. Time and Date offers a clear explanation of the solstice as well as explores the customs and traditions around it. To see a beautiful collection of “brown and gray and sometimes white” nature photography, explore Robin’s post on frosted Queen Ann’s Lace in Life in the Bogs. To read a beautiful modern fairy tale about the Queen of Air and Storm, visit Elizabeth Yon’s “Sweet May: A Fable.”

“Winter” was one of those songs written in a moment, in a winter where snow alternated with grey skies and brown earth. This recording is a “first take” for both the piano and vocal. The visuals are all from my garden.  Enjoy!

All music making is collaborative in nature.  A special thanks to Barbara Nissman for contributing her master’s touch on the piano to this song and Mike Tomaro for his haunting soprano sax improvisations. And as always, to my gifted husband Bill Purse, who generously shares his skills as audio engineer and producer in my artistic endeavors.

Winter, ©2009 Lynn Emberg Purse All RIghts Reserved

Winter, snow falling down
Winter, the world is gray and brown, gray and brown and sometimes white
for a night and a day, then all is gray

Autumn in leaves of gold
Springtime, a thousand shades of green unfold to summer
with its joyous Joseph’s Coat of colors, endless colors, endless colors . . .

Winter, an artist’s sketch in charcoal
so clearly etched against a cloud filled sky
Subtle and dark, lovely and stark in gentle tones of gray
and brown and sometimes white
for a night and a day, then all turns gray
Winter today

Soft clouds, soft snow, soft browns, whites and grays
Winter today

Text and media of “A Song for the Winter Solstice” ©2011 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved. Please do not reblog.