April 30, 2015

A Walk in the Woods: Spring Waters

In the early spring woods, in places usually dull and dry, are bright patches of reflected sky and trees. These shallow vernal pools turn the world upside down for the brief period that they exist, as they gather the excess moisture of melted snow and spring rains.

Because they are shallow, the pools are a visually complex world, with objects above the water and below, and reflections of branches and sky. Grayish brown leaves become richly colored under water.

Branches draw expressive light lines above the darker pond, relating to their own reflections and those of surrounding trees.

There's a beautiful contrast with the bright, mossy log and the darkly mysterious wet leaves and reflections.

A log with mushrooms provides a different sort of contrast, one that emphasizes light and dark, dry and wet. The view of layered leaves is broken by reflections.

Small bright green plants are flourishing under water.

Mossy rocks frame an expanse of reflected sky, a space that is deepened by the illusion of reflected trees plunging downward.

Liquid and solid, surface and space, illusion and the real; seeing above, below, across. These small pools are magical, evoking the worlds of elves and pixies. They are all the more wondrous for being so short lived.


  1. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing. I lived for 24 years in NY state, and am now in Miami- so I miss this transformative moment of spring awakening.

    1. Thank you, tilly; I'm pleased this touches a chord with you.