At forty-five degrees north here in Vermont, we know dark days. Earlier this week the overcast day had edged into darkness by mid-afternoon. But we also have days, like this one, beginning with the sun lighting the hillside across the valley, the sky becoming a quick, bright backdrop against which thousands of twigs in the trees define a glorious reality.
At dusk yesterday, the sky, soft and subtly colored, I watched in amazement as the ragged, old Box Elder for a few moments simply became radiant. I knew, even if I had my camera in hand, no photograph could have replicated what I was seeing. I love that, both about photography and about life, that they are not equivalents but partners in life’s play of light.
With this morning’s continued barrage of unthinkably bizarre human news, I am again fighting terror, the kind I might feel out on the frozen river hearing the ice begin to move, knowing the shore is too far away, realizing I’ve misjudged circumstances, that they have changed and that where I am is not safe. I am aware I have lived a life with the privilege of not experiencing these kinds of fears that are the daily companions to so many others.
The fact that so much of the world around remains as it has for eons is some comfort but, in fact—a word I cannot use lightly these days—so much about we humans has changed, or perhaps simply revealed itself, that I wonder if I’ll make the safety of that far shore.
May theses few photographs from the beginnings of winter in Vermont remind me of what is now and has long been real and true.