October 13, 2011

A Walk in the Woods: Bright LInes

The low sun of October illuminates objects differently from the full high sun of summer. Its slanting light catches the edges of things, separating them from their dark surroundings. When I entered the woods a few days ago, my eye was caught by the shining earth-red lines dangling in mid air, pine needles caught by branches during their descent to earth.

Other reds, more brilliant, but finer in line, topped by little nodding heads, are the fruiting bodies of mosses.

The light picks out a spider's thread, the most delicate of gestures, sweeping across a space from twig to twig, At this time of year, when the mass of trees across the pond is darkened by back light, I sometimes see highlighted against them, along with the bright spots of flying insects, a silvery line floating in air, written by a spider and mysteriously released to float free.

I have to admit a fondness for the bright blue, totally artificial, lines of plastic tubing running through the woods, especially when glowing with light. They are pipes for collecting maple sap in spring and their manufactured color adds a festive note to the natural hues of woodland plants. As the lines stretch from tree to tree, blue or white against dark, they become large drawings articulating space.


  1. Fantastic attention to details. Love the pine needle portrait and the blue tubing.

  2. thanks so much, Julie. When I go for a walk, my eye is more focused on the near details than on the larger picture, though I do try to pay attention to both.

  3. Your forest surroundings look much like mine. I, too have been enjoying the autumnal light, especially when it lights up the crimson leaves in the afternoon, spectacular. I can see from your work why you are attracted to those blue tubes, the last photo could be a composition for a painting.

  4. I love how the light at this season reveals so many spider webs just kind of floating around in space barely attached. We get lots of pine needles caught in our trees but I had no idea what they were in your photo without reading the text. Funny how different things can look when viewed through other eyes.

  5. Valerianna, isn't the light gorgeous this time of year! yes, those blue tubes definitely fit in to my idea of an interesting subject.
    Linda, I might have missed those pine needles too if it wasn't for the fact that they were hanging just at eye level, just next to my path into the woods.