Burrowing into the Depths

It feels like we’re going to have an unrelentingly rain-soaked winter here in the Pacific Northwest. One storm after another has barreled in, blowing trees down and dumping precipitation across an already waterlogged region. Between fronts the air stays damp and cool. There are breaks in the clouds but it is seldom more than a brief reprieve, as the sun breaks out then quickly hides again under opaque, gray skies. Uninspiring? Yes. But the challenges of the season bring opportunities to look harder, work a little more, and find the beauty that is right here.

*

1. Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse keeps me going no matter what the weather. This was the view from the curb on a rain-soaked December afternoon before I jumped out to get a perfect pour of espresso macchiato, a freshly baked treat, and a mystery for late-night reading.

2. A cloudy Christmas Eve offers the gift of calm water.

3. Supposedly birds sit on power lines not to keep their feet warm, but to keep predators in view and be ready for a quick take-off. Whatever the reason, I enjoy the way flocks of Starlings and blackbirds animate the wires.

4. In winter, fog-watching replaces wildflower hunting.

5. Pond lily leaves hold water even as they float on it.

*

“…here in these misty forests those edges seem to blur with rain so fine and constant as to be indistinguishable from air and cedars wrapped with cloud so dense that only their outlines emerge.” Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

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6. Heart Lake, 3:56 PM, December 31st.

7. Standing in the damp, cold air by the lake at dusk and listening to the soft murmur of a barely visible flock of ducks – this is burrowing into the gifts of the season.

8. A raindrop elegy for the passing of the year.

9. On a forested hill between two lakes, the clouds allow a sliver of sunlight to warm a lichen-bedecked branch.

10. A thread of moss reaches toward the little light that can seep into the forest on a December afternoon.

11. A wetland tangle of twigs reflects on itself. Bowman Bay, January 3rd, 4:33 PM

12. On the opposite side of the trail, simplicity reigns where Bullwhip kelp drifts with the tide.

13. A close look at driftwood may be reward enough on a gray day.

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“When you have all the time in the world you can spend it, not on going somewhere, but on being where you are.” Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass.

*

14. The rich colors of water-woven grasses and leaves widen my eyes.

15. Water everywhere.

16. Tide-tossed pebbles offer delight on a gray day.

17. Cap Sante Marina, December 26th, 4:09 PM.

18. A gibbous moon appears from behind the clouds.

19. No matter how many sunsets I am witness to, each one brings a measure of magic to the day.

*

A day or so after I began writing this post, the weather changed. Back-to-back days of cheerful (if partial) sunshine brightened my spirits. I watched a pair of Bald eagles cavorting against a deep blue sky, and far below them, nestled in the damp moss, I found the first leaves of a Rein orchid (Platanthera trransversa). For five or more months the leaves will make food for the tuber, hidden from sight. In the warm days of summer a delicate stalk of tiny orchids will emerge, if all goes well. Maybe that pair of little leaves will be trampled or will shrivel up or be eaten – who knows? Life is fragile. But no matter what, winter will be followed by spring, rain by sun, night by day. This we can count on.

***


90 comments

  1. Amen, to your last sentence, Lynn and I love the quote halfway down the page.

    This post features a lovely series of images and just goes to show that beauty is everywhere in nature – if we open our eyes and truly see.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. La luce rossa ha macchiato (in un buon senso) la tua prima foto.
    In #3, have you tried in your way to be free?
    Your picture of tide-tossed pebbles had me wondering whether any human agency was involved.
    “Raindrop elegy” is a good phrase. Only a few hits for it turned up in the search I just did.
    Nice minimalism in the vertical panorama of #5.
    You’ve got a great winter tangle going there in #11. Hail, complexity.
    The little dark markings in #13 are similar to ones I’ve seen on wood here. Do you know what they are?
    Water that creates ripples is good water, as in #15.
    #19 brings a pleasant ending to the day and your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the Italian lesson, Steve…I had to use the translator, which said macchiato is “stained.” I had heard “marked” which isn’t necessarily that different, but I like stained, too. The red light is the “OPEN” sign. πŸ™‚ Human hands had nothing to do with the pebbles – it happens thousands of times every day around here, with each high tide. There are lots of rounded pebbles and there’s lots of driftwood, and the pebbles are always landing in interesting places. Sometimes they get wedged in and stay for a while. Oh, you googled ‘raindrop elegy’ that s funny. I would drive myself nuts if I did that every time I thought of a good phrase. But it’s good to know I didn’t repeat a cliche with that one.
      So glad you like the tangle – that one was particularly dense! A storm pushed the salty bay water into that wetland last week. Nature!
      I’m pretty sure those marks on the wood are lichens.
      Thank you, Steve. Have a good week!

      Like

  3. It’s a very typical La NiΓ±a winter I guess – you’re getting inundated with rain, and we’re super dry down here. So this gloom-deprived Southern Californian appreciates the first half of these images very much! πŸ˜‰ I especially like #6, Heart Lake. What a beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear you like that image, Marcus – there aren’t a lot of street photography opportunities around here but I do what I can. πŸ˜‰
      You know, I would love to get back to Germany (and the Netherlands, Belgium…) too. We seem to have a long way to go before we’ll be able to make these trips safely. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. #1 is really magical! And I find mention of the “Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse” most enticing…

    βœ¨πŸŒ»πŸŒΏπŸ™πŸ•‰πŸ€β™ΎπŸ•Šβ˜―πŸ™πŸŒΏπŸŒ»βœ¨

    Like

  5. Yes, we count on this, dear Lynn, the message arrived. Thank you for this winter beauty you have looked for and found. Especially fond I am of no.5 because of the extreme format which emphasizes the deep peace in the mood. Also I love some contrast you put between photos following each other, as in no. 10 to no.12 with that twig mess in the middle.
    And no.7 is like taken from a fairy tale, so mysterious. Did you mask a part of the foreground to lighten it a bit and stand out more from he darkness all around? As always: pure enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ule…one thing to mention – for some reason WP blurred two photos – in #10 that bit of moss is actually sharply in focus. The lichens in #9 should be in focus too. Maybe I will try uploading those photos again. I appreciate your thoughts, as always. #7 was actually very dark, even darker than it is here so yes, I brought out the shadows a little so the branches are more visible. I increased the texture a tiny bit too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, the effect was worth taking the trouble, Lynn. There were no blurred areas in your photos considering lichens or moss in my WP reader. Funny. I’m going to get back looking at the two pictures in search of adifference.

        Like

    • Yes, and the sun HAS broken through a few times lately…January is looking more hopeful in spite of the truly scary things going on in the political arena. I’m so happy that you get some pleasure from my posts, Don, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. In the cycle of the seasons, all have their beauty. I would even say that they all have immense beauty!
    It just depends on our availability to find it. As Lynn shows in this post, the beauty of winter can be fluid, as in image 1; stunning and simple as in 5; solid as in 13; and protective as in 16.
    Life is here, in this mix of looks and moments!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved everything about this one, Lynn. You’ve embraced the torrents of rain and overcast days. Your opener is a favorite genre, as you know- excellent. The birds on the wire is fab as are the shapes of the telephone poles. Your pond lily leaves stopped me in my tracks. So serene. Your foggy lake and pebbles in driftwood are beautiful and your other driftwood reminded me of a close-up of an elephant’s skin. πŸ™‚ And Cap Santa Marie is a stunner- would look great in a large size. I love the quote about “being where you are”. Perfect. Greetings from very dry So Cal…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rainy windows, gotta love ’em. Yes, elephant skin – that piece of wood is definitely wrinkled! Come June I will be bemoaning the bright sun. I actually am getting a few prints made, finally – of two of the photos from the last post (2020 review). We’ll see how they turn out. Why can’t we share the rain, I don’t understand. πŸ˜‰ I do hope you get some more soon…thank you, Jane.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In #10, the moss near the right edge is tack sharp. There seems to be a second part next to it which is blurred, but I think, that area is just out of focus and therefore blurred. In #9, all lichens are really fine.

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  9. What a beautiful post regarding the “good” weather πŸ˜‰ Really, there is always beauty to find and you show it to us! I love the birds on the telegraph! When I look closer it seems as if some of them are talking to each other. Body language πŸ™‚ Did you see them fly? I like the fog pictures – 7 is a bit mystic again! The moss glows, it must have been a wonderful sight! – You are right, I read your comment, 9 and 10 are not sharp here. I often go directly to your site with firefox, Ule takes the reader, so maybe it is a browser problem? Strange, but I am sure you will find an answer. I love the raindrops in #8, and the structures in #11 and 13. 11 is incredible together with the reflection! Great shot! The pebbles are so nice – let alone the colors. Don’t they look like sweets πŸ™‚ I hardly saw such colorful pebbles before. The sunset in the harbor is a joy, like the last picture. Yes, it is magic πŸ™‚ I hope you will find the orchid again, blooming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure they’re talking to each other, yes. I think that flock was mostly Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), brought here from England long ago and now absolutely everywhere. They’re very social and it’s fun to see huge flocks of them flying around together, often with other black birds (Euphagus cyanocephalus). They like open places – we see them when we drive on the highway. I’m glad they don’t come to the feeder – that would be too much. #7 was very dark and I kept it that way – I’m glad you used the word “mystic.” You’re right about the reader versus an email browser – I used firefox too and that’s the problem. Thanks for figuring that out! Yes, the pebbles look like candy! That little beach has really nice rocks.
      I’m sure I will find the orchids again but I don’t know if the number I saw last year was unusually high or normal. What kind of cycles do they have, how sensitive are they to the amount of rain we get in winter? These are questions to be answered by watching… Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the Starlings can be quite “invasive”. I saw a film where they lived close to a farmer. Every day a big amount of them flew into a barn and “stole” the food from the cows and it was not less πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  10. You certainly did burrow into the depths, seeing details that most of us would miss. Such a calmness in your images despite the storms we’ve been having. And of course I must name my faves – 1, 8, 9, 16, 17. Also I love the quotes from Braiding Sweetgrass.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dull grey days for sure in Winter Lynn but you seem to be able to overcome any sense of dullness in your photos and a cheer up it is for us all by the comments above .
    Love your birds on a wire .. I imagine much chattering and passing on of gossip .
    It’s a wish for me to catch a flock of rooks lifting up in flight from a field with a longer shutter speed .. but I’ve been foiled so many times – they’re too quick and jumpy- I’ll have to hunt down a telegraph pole maybe !
    Your eye for simplicity and calm is just wonderful …

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have to combat that dullness, or get around it or something! The birds on wires must not be as weary as we are…they can talk to their friends without social distancing, without masks…and oh, wouldn’t a photo of a multitude of winged bodies be a wonderful thing to make? I envision the wings blurred and I like the plain black bodies of rooks or crows for the purpose. πŸ™‚
      Thanks, Poppy, it’s always so good to hear from you. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. We’ve had intense winds here and power outages 😜 but the furnace is working as a cold snap is arriving apparently…I love the raindrop photos Lynn … lovely colours … be well and cozy… it almost February already πŸƒπŸŒž hugs hedy

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  13. “this is burrowing into the gifts of the season.”
    “A raindrop elegy for the passing of the year”

    Ha! Again! I call you Poet!
    You say you are not, but you continue to prove yourself wrong.

    And your images have depths that one can only hope to begin delving. When is your giant photography folio book coming out? I will purchase it immediately!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re too kind and you know that although I may get lucky with a phrase or two, I don’t have the skill to string them together that a real poet does. But it’s OK, I welcome the phrases when they come and appreciate your compliment. A giant folio book, that would be fun – but I’d be just as happy to put together something like Teju Cole’s Blind Spot – have you seen that? Thank you, Johnny.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Loved that book! Borrowed it from the library and it’s now on my wishlist. Such an amazingly loose yet cohesive way of pairing words and ideas with images. And so many of the images seemed so open-ended, so loose and open. Not that your style of pairing words and images is strictly that loose (yours seems more coherent, more tightly related, if that makes sense?) but it seems like a book of your words and images in that style would be epic.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Wel, now you’ve gone and made me feel the wuss that I am. It is cold and windy here with wind chills in the single numbers and I am leaning towards the computer rather than the out of doors. There are opportunities out there for sure but…I am a cold weenie despite all those ice abstracts. πŸ™‚ I bought a tripod mounted umbrella recently so the rain might not deter but wind and cold does.
    You might guess that image #2 would be a favorite of mine. And #12 gave me a first impression of water snakes. The tide tossed wonderfully colored smooth pebbles are delightful in those tree root (?) crevices and what better way to end the post than with a soft, lovely sunset. Another delightful post, Lynn. And inspiring to make the most out of what we are given.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no Steve, our cold isn’t like your cold! In fact, we just had some real frost last night and I’m fighting with myself right now – just don’t want to go out into that cold. I’m not walkin’ the walk today…
      Water snakes, that’s funny. That kelp is a nice subject. The pebbles were in a huge piece of driftwood – that’s been happening more than ever in the last month or two because of high tides and powerful winds. Steve S. doesn’t believe me, but the water really does pick up those rocks and throw them into every waiting crevice. πŸ˜‰ Thank you, Steve, and stay warm!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did stay in. πŸ™‚
        Well, I believe you because I have seen the same thing happen at Little Hunters Beach in Acadia N.P. Some of those tiny pebbles weigh less than a blade of sea kelp so it isn’t shocking that the water tosses them around. When the tide is coming in you can stand there and hear the polished rocks rattling around as the water flows and ebbs. I’d guess that the force of the water pushes the smaller ones into larger ones that propels them upwards and aweigh they go. πŸ™‚

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  15. With a photo like #1, it’s hard to feel sorry for you. You found the beauty for sure. I especially like the red confetti in the lower left, maybe because I didn’t see it right away. The symmetry and simplicity make #2 elegant. I like how the light manages to shine through the clouds in #3, throwing the birds and utility poles into silhouette. I see in #4 why fog is sometimes described as wispy. The colors in the sky are intriguing. I like the elongated format of #5β€”like a Japanese scroll. The graduated tone is really nice, too. Another illustration of serenity. The color visible in the blackness of #7 gives the photograph depthβ€”and beauty. I’m tempted to say, β€œI love this one,” but I love so many . . . . The pastel colors and bokeh of #8 make for a dreamy feeling, and the raindrops about to fall give the photo a bit of welcome tension. What a lovely muddle in #11; you have my admiration for finding the composition in it. What interesting colors and patterns you have found in the wrinkly wood of #13. Great quotation from Braiding Sweetgrass. Number 16 appeals for all its features. In #17 you’ve managed to make a photograph of boats not about boats but about shapes and colors. Wonderful! And your #19 is a perfect and perfectly beautiful ending. I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to finish writing a comment on this, one of my favorite posts of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • πŸ™‚ No need to feel sorry for me over here, but between the relentless news and the steady march of 45-degree, gray days, it does get dreary. I thought of you when I cropped #5 down to that long rectangle. I thought it worked well. πŸ™‚ That was a cold, dark afternoon but I stood beside a small lake and managed to see a few things. I think #7 is awfully dark but I left it that way – it hasn’t been processed much – and I’m glad you like it. I processed #11, the tangle, or muddle, so it would remain very flat with lots of detail but not much depth. An odd view but that’s the way I saw it. I wonder if I should have made it easier to read, i.e. if I should have given the viewer some dark places and light places to wander around in. But I chose to do it that way. I appreciate what you said about the marina photo. πŸ™‚ And are you saying that you are not opposed to that sunset at the end??? πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ It’s good to hear that this post is a favorite. There is so much darkness – what else can you do but make beauty from it?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. You’ve done it again … wonderful observations and captures … but of course I would expect nothing less. Your birds on a wire is great. Whenever I’ve tried this they have flown away too quickly for me to capture. The tide tossed pebbles are a delight indeed! So colorful, they remind me of Easter eggs hidden for a hunt. An excellent post and collection Lynn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well please don’t expect too much, Denise. πŸ˜‰ (I think my subsequent post proves the point – it just doesn’t reach this level but that’s got to be OK). The birds were wanting to change positions here and there but they weren’t wanting to leave altogether – maybe because it was late in the day and they were planning to roost there. Who knows? The colorful pebbles are a treat and appear mainly at one particular beach. They’re beautiful when they’re wet. It’s just a small place, but it’s wonderful. The last photo was from there, too. Thank you, Denise!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Burrowing into the Depths – Cozy Homespun

  18. So lovely to see you enthralled with our winter moods! Exploration between the storms can be so rewarding as you so beautifully illustrate in this post! (Apologies for going missing lately… the hibernation was a bit more intense this year.)

    Liked by 1 person

      • We’ve been out finding signs of spring between the storm squalls here. It’s looking a wee bit encouraging!!! I was supposed to get the vaccine this week, but it seems it was held up due to snow-pocalypse back east somewhere.

        Like


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