Fire lights up the sky, not like the licking flames from summer, but in that time of year when light grows scares, and the colors of dawn and dusk signal compelling transitions of life. Red alder and black cottonwood shivering in bare branches to reveal impressionistic masterpieces with every dusk and dawn. These are some of my favorite times of day, and usually correlates with animal chores on the farm. Waking and returning to dreams the transition places in life which are starkly marked by the return and removal of light. So much happens in the natural world at these two points in the cycle of our planet’s rotation. Life is compelled, yet in a state of change, vulnerable, and there are opportunities to see, to witness dawn chorus, twilight colors, so many shades within the forest too. You can see in the field, then step into the canopy returning to shadow, yet the golden light still filters through once dawn breaks into day. As night folds her wings of darkness over the land, in winter, through the skeletal frames of some trees, we can see a little more color and brightness bringing comfort in these cold times of dormancy. The heavens never rest, after a parade of stars, another dawn reveals the changing landscape with her rosy reflections. In the cold months, rising mists from moist forests and wetlands crate a tangle of sky and earth. The low clouds obfuscate reality, moving the skyline down into a lake’s reflecting surface, sipping the warm hues of morning as ducks splash down to feed.
We live 30 miles from a large body of water, and 150 miles from The Pacific Ocean to our west. This makes sunsets amazing, and the afterglow lasts after the sun drops behind the horizon, continuing to reflect form vast waters. Often, lavender tucks into peach watercolor flames. Silhouetted evergreen giants lean towards western winds, whispering evening chorus into light’s last symphony.
The gaze is often drawn to warm tones, especially in this place of evergreen moss and dark, wooded groves. Fleeting visions of fiery shrubs and electric green broad leafed ground covers in the garden- even the old tin roof seems to glow with the changing western sunset. Moisture in the air extends the pantomime of color. Clouds spread golden rays out of a late Turner feeling sky. Another spectacular impressionistic sky by Mother Nature. This particular landscape in Western Washington has enough open clearings to offer skyscapes. It’s surprising how often we forget to look up and appreciate the heavens. Often, throughout most of the day out skies remain overcast and grey, but when the clouds part, a cascade of pigments abounds. Dramatic cloudbursts climb over the trees chasing the winds far above. Sunset catches across billowing tops, spilling into forest crowns, gilding them majestic gold. These shows come and go quickly, so take a moment as the day opens, and another at it’s closing to appreciate and applaud natural light at its most active.
At the time of winter solstice 2022, the land is locked in ice and snow. Cold blue sky has only just begun a retreat in the face of first dawn. At it’s most southern point, the sun touches her lowest point, and still erupts in warm glow from the east. Preparing another day though even the shortest of her treks across the sky. Gratitude for each light’s return, and for the amazing color and emotion brought across this landscape with each dawn and dusk.