Friday, January 28, 2011

The serenity of the Winter Landscape

My Winter garden knows no extends out into the rain forest to our South, and out across the valley, all the way to Mt. Hood, some 70 miles away. On an early morning walk a few days ago, I came across my favorite group of moss and fern covered trees. The sun was streaking through the branches, releasing drifts of steam that swirled up into the crisp morning air. Pure magic that lasted only a few seconds as I passed by.

Off in the distance, Majestic Mt. Hood appeared on the Horizon to the East...our constant companion and focal point. An unusual large bank of fog lay over the valley and neighboring Portland. I was transfixed as the fog slowly moved up the slope, obscuring the orchards and trees below. Today we stayed above the clouds and enjoyed the suns' warmth. The previous week, we had been engulfed by the same fog and spent days in a black and white landscape. No wonder our vineyard and street are named 'Cloudrest'!

Closer to the house, Winter blooms and textural contrasts abound. One of my favorite plants, the Hellebores, are just starting to bloom, contributing pastel shades of chartreuse, pink and yellow to the many shades of green.

Moss and lichen are everywhere, even on the bird feeder! 

A sun bleached skull found many years ago on the property sits in the crook of one of our remaining English walnut trees. When we bought our acreage back in 1973 it was a walnut orchard, with over 40 trees. Now only a few remain, and a 5 acre vineyard has taken their place. Unfortunately, the squirrels have taken to stealing the nuts before they ripen!

Steps, surrounded by rhododendron, fern and hosta, lead up a pathway that circles around our deck.

Steel lanterns located in our entry courtyard and along the driveway add needed light in the evenings. Living out in a rural area like ours can be great for star-gazing but also can be pitch black at night!

My husband, Fred, who dabbles in welding, created a series of lanterns along our long gravel driveway that add just the need illumination.


Walking through a Winter garden feels more serene. I also see things that I don't see in the Spring or Summer. The colors tend to be more muted, and sometimes even appear as a black and white image. Think of the aesthetic difference between a black and white photograph and the same image in color. Often the B &W has more impact because texture and form and composition become more focused in our mind. Snow covered landscapes are even more abstracted. Winter beckons....take a walk....see an empty pot filled with rainwater, or a simple ceramic art piece that was hidden by foliage earlier in the year. Explore and enjoy!


Janene said...

Lovely photos! I especially like the top ones, with the misty look to them. I love how the misty clouds cling to the hills in winter around here.

Linda said...

Thanks Janene...I am always torn between the camera or the pencil! Will need to get back to more sketching when the warmer temps come back. Hope to join one of the urban sketchers get-togethers soon.