LOCAL WALKS: Pacific Northwest Mood

The darkening time –

after months of drought

the rain arrives, awakening licorice

fern tendrils,

greening up the ragged moss blankets

that wrap around rocks

where mushrooms smile.

*

Shadows thicken,

gloom pervades the forest,

opaque clouds loom

over the sea.

Threads of lace lichen soften,

gracefully fluttering

in the cool air by the bay

where I watch the last bees fret the aster’s

deep yellow discs.

The summer houses are empty.

*

Heron’s plans haven’t changed though –

peer, freeze, strike, swallow,

repeat

sometimes without the swallow.

In town

I see one flying

low over the roofs of busy stores,

crying hoarsely, fearless

and purposeful.

***

1. Wetland reflections.
2. Through a scrim of twigs and lichens.
3.
4.
5. Lace lichen (Ramalina menziesii), Douglas fir needles, and a Madrone leaf.
6. Rain.
7. Licorice fern (Polypodium glycyrrhiza) dries up in summer and springs back to life with autumn rains. Last season’s shriveled leaves are at the base of the ferns growing on a moss-covered tree trunk.
8. More lace lichen.
9. Rain-slicked Madrone trees lean over the water.
10.
11.
12.
13. Great blue heron.
14.
15.
16.

***


78 comments

  1. This is purest and most artful poetry, which I read as introduction to your pictures. Though you dislike the dark and wintery shadows, they seem driving you into mighty words. And yet they seem humble and like everyday language. Grand!
    In no.15, mother nature has written a love letter to her most devoted daughter, so it seems.
    I love the season of ferns and lichen in the US Northwest, because it is the time and context you find the most, most, most beautiful photos, dear Lynn.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Well Ule, I don’t know what to say except thank you. You’re right, I’m not happy about the shorter days and lack of light but it turns out that the darker part of the year is more inspiring for photography. It’s interesting that you say the text has the quality of humble, everyday words yet it moved you – that’s really what I was trying to emulate: poets who write in ordinary language yet since they write from the heart, the work means something. So I’m very happy to read your words. #15 as mother nature’s slove letter, I love it! More asemic writing. πŸ™‚ And the season of ferns and lichens, yes, in this part of the world that makes sense. Today we walked with friends to a magical spot where lichens hang from all the trees, grow on the bark, and cover the ground. The trees themselves are crooked and romantic. And the licorice ferns are looking happy. πŸ™‚ Thank you.

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  2. 1) suberp!
    2) like this one too πŸ™‚
    3) Reaching out
    4) Symmetry
    5) What a display of colours
    6) The colour of the drops has to do with physics and reflection.
    Note, I’m not a physicist.
    10) Somehow a classical view
    11) Mighty
    12) Late sun, baeautiful.
    13) 14) Alone but not lonely.
    15) I see a ‘B’.
    16) Amazing, especially the colour in the very left.

    Have a good day, Lynn.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t think #2 is a very “likable” photo so it’s interesting to hear that you do like that one – thanks for telling me. I included it because it’s interesting to me. πŸ˜‰
      #3 definitely has a reaching arm quality. In #4, I liked the imperfect symmetry, too. πŸ™‚ That’s a good observation about the raindrops on the bark, thank you. I bet a physicist could explain what’s going on. We need a tiny physicist in our pocket, right? πŸ˜‰
      I think I know what you mean about #10 having a classical feeling. I often go to the place in #12 in the late afternoon. At this time of year, the light is getting wonderful there in the afternoons.
      The “B” is just above the middle, correct? πŸ˜‰
      The view over the water in #16 is typical of days with disturbed weather here. It’s always good to get out when the weather is unsettled.
      Thank you, Gerhard!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What great total work of art! There’s a gorgeous unity of your touching poem and your splendid photos, in which darkness prevails. The heron’s shriek at the end of your poem seems to protest in town. The last word purposeful sounds like a foreboding echo to me. No photos of the town…Thank you, dear Lynn!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, it’s good to hear your thoughts. With the heron I was thinking that the bird is very purposeful in the sense that it doesn’t waste time on extra, unnecessary things – it just goes right to the point. It didn’t have a foreboding feeling for me but everyone’s interpretation of words and images is different. That’s a beautiful thing, I think we would agree. And although I believe we need to reduce the impact of urban areas, our town is pretty small. I appreciate the resources there – the bookstore and coffee shop especially! I thought it was a cool thing to have a big, wild, heron flying over the middle of town. That wouldn’t happen in a big city. It reminds me of seeing storks in the countryside outside of Hanover – they weren’t too far from the town, either. πŸ™‚ I’m really glad you enjoyed the post!

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    • Good! You know I value your feedback. I was saying to Graham (above) that this type of post is more satisfying than the previous one about the mountain hike, as nice a hike as that was, so it’s great to read your comment. Autumn must be beautiful where you are!

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  4. Lovely. The licorice ferns in #7 look so tentative, but still game, aren’t they, they’re always going to chance it and unfurl.
    I particularly liked “…I watch the last bees fret the aster’s deep yellow discs,” nice! followed by the empty cottages – – the bees will be huddled up soon enough, so their homes at least will still be warm and companionable, even if the flowers dry and become colorless and empty.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, and the ferns were right, it was time. We’ve had more rain and they’re looking fantastic, everywhere.
      Oh, thank you for the note about the writing.
      Let’s imagine that the dried flowers might also house some tiny insects over the winter, or their seeds will warm some avian bellies. πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for being here, Robert, have a good weekend (go ahead and start now!).

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  5. the fern and licorice lichen made me gasp – always the sign that the photograph is not so much still as moving!
    ” I watch the last bees fret the aster’s
    deep yellow discs.
    The summer houses are empty.”

    a heavenly haiku ending to that verse

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Ooo, I love photo 16. Sums it up nicely. And number 8.’s lace lichen is exquisite. Well told. I could picture it all before I looked at the photographs. Perhaps partly because I live here and know these moods and nature’s fall face well, but I think it would reach the imagination of those in the desert too.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Lace lichen in #8 is kind of like a little bow tie, isn’t it? Thank you very much for your feedback, Sheri, it means a lot. Yes, I’m sure you know these moods! Lots of disturbance lately – I bet Mt. Si has been interesting!

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      • Yes, Mt. Si has had the most gorgeous mantles of mist at this time of year. And the low golden light lingers long in the evening highlighting the clouds while the valley’s already in shadow from the opposite ridge. Very interesting and gorgeous. Nice crisp air, and we’ve had more bright blue skies than usual. I was up your way and got to look across at the islands from Chuckanut Drive last weekend. I love this time of year! Take care! Nice ‘chatting’ with you, Lynn!

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  7. Isn’t rain just the most marvelous thing? Ever? Bringing smiling mushrooms, of course! (There may come a day when I’m singing a different tune.)
    Chuckles at your heron description. So very apt.

    Interesting how you set the mood. Starting with the gloomy monochrome, then finally there’s signs of life in the green of the lichen. (Though I did like the subtlety of green in #4). Nice.

    7- that fern brought a smile to my face. I think it’s smiling, too.
    8- can’t describe it, but there’s something that just draws me in
    12- you, too have what I love about ocean. It puts me there.
    13- Oh somehow the poor dear looks so lonely out there
    14 – and followed it with the one stepping out – that made me laugh!
    15- what I said in prev. comment 8
    16- what I said in prev. comment 8

    Thanks, Lynn! Hope you’re not dreading the winter too much. Despite the darker days, I come alive when the air gets moister. Does that make us opposites? πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t think we’re opposites but I do like summer’s warmth. The dryness was depressing this year, though, and it’s really good to see everything looking so green again, including the fields. We drove through the agricultural land yesterday and saw the Snow geese – they’re arriving, thousands of them. The pelicans have left, I think, but we traded one big white bird for another. πŸ˜‰
      I’m sure those ferns are smiling! With #12 I’d say we have a little of what your coast has, sometimes. That was a windy day with a high tide and changeable skies – it was beautiful, a great time to be out. I like the way the heron in #13 is dwarfed by its surroundings, it feels right, you know? I’m glad you enjoyed the post and don’t worry, I’ll get through another winter! A road trip could make it easier….

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  8. This “caption-poem” flows to the rhythm of nature and the details of this early autumn. Words and images complement each other well and with great sensitivity.
    ItΒ΄s naturally simple poem like nature …and it didn’t need Google translator for me to understand it!
    Beautiful images!

    (our autumn, today, is with 30ΒΊ Celcius………)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow, we are closer to 7C here this morning! Chilly! I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. It’s nice that you could read through without the translator. Yes, I was trying to maintain that word-image complementarity without making it too obvious. This kind of post is very satisfying to do – when it works! πŸ˜‰ Thank you!

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  9. Hi Lynn, I thoroughly enjoyed the rhythm of your poem aptly describing the season’s turn and as an introduction to your images. Your opening image invites my eyes to circle around and your second caused me to pause and enjoy your creative intentions. The lace lichen is a beautiful plant – love #8 showing off the pattern. And the delicate tendrils of the Licorice Fern is a quietly lovely image. The black and white of the heron is a stunner and the movement of his stepping leg makes it. Your final image sums up the new season: serenity! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s so different from your area, isn’t it? Everything has greened up again here, it’s good to see, even if the days are getting shorter. Thanks for your attention. One of these days maybe your gaze will be live – I’ll introduce you to all these subjects. πŸ˜‰ Have a good weekend!

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  10. Pingback: LOCAL WALKS: Pacific Northwest Mood – MobsterTiger

  11. Poetic words and pictures! I love the smiling mushrooms and I can feel the relief and joy of rain in your poem. Your words seem to water nature, like rain falling on the ground. The pictures of the trees are atmospheric, but I am even more touched by the lichens. I love the lichen-leaf-salad in #5 and the raindrops on the madrone tree. These drops let me think of asemic writing again. The colors of the madrone trees are always so appealing. What I like about rainy days are the colors in general that are so much stronger than usual.
    The lichen in 8 and 15 – wow, so wonderful! What kind of artwork. I understand more and more why you love them so much πŸ™‚
    Also nice your photo of the fresh fern as a sign for new life, respire after a long time of renunciation. Such fresh greens in autumn are unusual, but they seem to say: never give up. Finally: small herons, wide nature. We all depend, don’t we.

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    • That’s a beautiful idea, words like rain falling on the ground. Thank you, I’m smiling now. A lichen-leaf salad is a pretty unappetizing idea but I can see what you mean, that’s what it looks like – funny! I like it. πŸ™‚ The raindrops on the Madrone bark were almost too subtle (in the photo but in real life it was wonderful because the rain was barely there – just a few drops falling from the sky). I chose to include them and it’s cool that you made the connection with asemic writing. Nice. Yes, colors on rainy days are much prettier, usually. The moisture brings out a kind of depth that’s not there in the sunlight.
      First, there’s lichen-as-salad, then there’s lichen-as-artwork! And my friend Richard just directed me to detailed pen and ink drawings of lichens on Flickr – I’ll have to send you the link. Lichens as dots.
      The Lace lichens become dry and dull in summer. Now they’re awakening, like the ferns, and showing off their beautiful, quiet colors and intricate architecture. For ferns to begin a new life cycle in autumn is a gift. There’s a similar fern that grows on big oak trees in the US southeast, called Resurrection fern. It doesn’t follow the seasons as closely, it just begins and ends with rain or dry weather.
      Thank you for your understanding of the lessons in all of this – not giving up, interdependence…good to remember. Have a good weekend, Almuth!

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  12. A sensitive dance, a flow, of words to go with the photos and the misty nuances of the season. I’ll bridle only slightly at the descriptor “gloom,” since for me the misty monotones are not gloomy but instead offer gentle subtlety, welcome after the aggression of blatant summer sunshine…

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  13. Beautiful work, Lynn, you capture the PNW like very few can. The photos along with the wisdom of your words are a treat for us all. πŸ™‚ I hope autumn is treating you well. I was just in Seattle area last month, such a glorious place to be!

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  14. Hi, Lynn. Days are getting shorter and unfortunately shorts-time is almost over… Sunny days are great; but there is more mood in a good fog.. πŸ™‚ So, let’s have fun in the dark as well. Maybe that’s why my favs are the B&W’s nr1 and nr14.

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    • Hi back at ya, Harrie! Some people wear shorts and sandals in winter here, even in light snow. Not me, not ever!! πŸ˜‰ You’re right there’s much more to like photographically in the darker months. Let’s have fun in the dark! You made me laugh, Joe too. Glad oou like the B&W’s. Have a good week!!

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  15. Your photos are just amazing! How I enjoy them … It’s like being there with you.
    That lace lichen is gorgeous Lynn ‘gracefully fluttering in the cool air by the bay’ .. oh delightful!
    Wonderful words to marry with your beautiful images! Thank you

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    • Isn’t Lace lichen amazing? I was transfixed when I first saw it, only a few years ago. In the summer it shrivels and dries up but once the rain returns it softens, the subtle colors “bloom”, and you can see the intricate structure. We’re heading into the moody time of year, which is honestly much more inspiring for photography, but I miss the sunlight. Thanks for being here, Julie, you’re always a ray of sunshine, as corny as that may sound. πŸ˜‰

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    • Thank you. The first image is a place I’ve photographed a number of times but it’s always a little different, as you know, depending on the light and season. I’d been feeling a little sad about losing the summer sunlight but making this post helped me get back into the fall/winter groove. There’s no question that there are more photographic opportunities here once summer is over.

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