December 15, 2014

A Walk in the Woods: Balancing

I was feeling rather glum this morning: yet another dark cloudy day in a long string of them, a day forecast for some sun, but a temperature inversion brought gray skies. My tendency is to stay indoors feeling sorry for myself, but I gave myself a talking to, put my camera around my neck, strapped on my snow shoes, and went for a long walk in the woods, a sure cure for melancholy.

The snows of last week are still clinging to boughs and branches, and make a marvelous landscape crisscrossed with lines of gray-browns and white. I felt as though in another world walking through it.

Looking closely, I found magical balancing acts, with dancing shapes of icy snow on top of small branches.

The crystal snow was like a chorus-line trapeze act, fluttering with light....

....or like some mythical creatures glimpsed only briefly.

Snow also clung to available surfaces, like those of small shelf mushrooms.

Dangling from the ends of evergreens, clear icy crystals, natural baubles for the season.

Another ice decoration clung to a small branch, competing in loveliness with the bright dried berries.

The snow even looked beautiful balanced atop a round of pale blue plastic, maple sugar tubing.

Stepping out of the woods to an open view, I saw the branches of a tree highlighted in white; they seemed to move and flow like the arms of a many-limbed goddess. Whether looking near or far, the act of looking itself, of paying attention to the world of nature, balances my life: gazing outward, not focused on the self; away from the art world, away from the computer, I take a deep breath of beauty.


  1. I am so glad you got out. I so enjoy seeing your snowy landscape. That third picture looks like a snow maiden patting a snow creature. Big smiles...Big hugs...

    1. Thank you, Lisa. And hah,'re right: it does look like a woman patting an animal who's kneeling down.

  2. You are so right about getting outside as a cure for the blues. I sometimes think that is what's wrong with our world of sky scrapers and offices. People have completely lost touch with the "real" world.
    Your world is beautiful. Thank you for reminding us.

  3. Well, it is gray and gloomy for the past week here in Chicago and no merciful Beauty from snow & topography. Your post is a heartening virtual expedition, Altoon. I am always amazed by how closely you look and open up my sight. Especially appreciate it today since I have been house-bound with nasty flu & high fever.

  4. You're such a schmartie...helping the blue back into the pink!

  5. Thanks, Nancy, Julie, and JBS for reading and for commenting.
    Nancy, I think I'd have a hard time living in NYC now, though I might treat the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a place of refuge and beauty if I didn't have the woods.
    I'm sorry that you're ill, Julie. Take care and feel better soon.
    Sometimes I have to remind myself to be smart, JBS.