The weather has turned quite chilly here as it is wont to do in November in Vermont. Jack Frost has been busy in his “studio” as evidenced by my “gallery” walks these brisk mornings.
Archive for November, 2012
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100: 4-5
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is good to pause now and then to count our blessings and I am very thankful for many things, not the least of which is my family. But one of the things I am most mindful of on this particular day is that every breath, every heartbeat, every unconscious action of my body that allows me to function “normally” is a gift. None of us can know what lies ahead, what will happen next year, next month, tomorrow, or even today. To this end, I want to cultivate a thankful heart, to celebrate not just one day, Thanksgiving Day, but to live in a way that expresses gratitude for the little things, the everyday things, the things I take for granted. I pray that it will be so.
That being said, I am also thankful for the occasional opportunity to see something up-close that normally we only see from a distance. I love birds; they fascinate me. I have gotten to hold maybe a dozen of them in my lifetime. Most of them have sadly been victims of reflective windows; a few have recovered and flown away. I have cradled their tiny bodies, admired their coloration and beauty, stroked their delicate feathers, and wondered how they fly. I rejoice when they blink and sit up. It is a mixed blessing when they remain lifeless.
And so it was recently when we found a male ruffed grouse on our back deck. I see them often when I walk, usually after I have unknowingly come too close to them and they spring into the air. Their coloration is perfect camouflage for the leaf litter of the forest floor. I have never seen one in our yard, let alone one on the deck, and we don’t know why he was where we found him. He wasn’t even in front of the windows, but I was grateful to have several days to admire and wonder over this lovely bird before I laid him under an evergreen tree in the woods.
I’m still walking and enjoying what I find in the road. As the leaves have fallen, I’ve watched some lovely prints being made. Here’s the process as best I can figure:
First you need leaves on the substrate (gravel road). Add a little moisture to adhere the leaves to the surface and flatten them out. Add some light traffic. This will press out the pigments into the substrate and make a good firm impression.
Allow the substrate to dry out so the leaves disintegrate and blow away.
Enjoy the lovely print that is left behind.
This can be done with twigs, pine needles and any kind of leaves, though some make better prints than others.
I also found some lovely reverse resist prints on the pavement. These are made after it rains, as the small particles accumulate under the leaves that stick to the road. All other sand is washed away in the storm, but as the leaves dry and blow away, they leave a lovely print.
And here’s a bonus: This little green frog was in the road the other day. He was a long way from water but since they can often be found among rotting debris, I guess he was managing ok. I’m not really sure why he made his way here but I scooted him into the grass where there was some moisture and hopefully a haven for the coming winter.