Thursday, May 2, 2013

Creating a Mood

Tree shaped by the great 
Mississippi River
No one can do fog like a Brit.  No one can do a snow storm like the Grand Tetons.  No one can capture expanse like Oklahoma.  I’m talking about the ability to see the subtle and grandeur of a scene.  And then, to relish and enjoy the conflicting moods of the landscape.

If you’ve traveled to the UK, you have no doubt witnessed fog.  It rains and rains and often the aftermath is this thick soupy fog where only impressions of things swirl through daily life.  We often forget, while admiring the beautiful cottage or castle gardens of Europe, the very beauty comes from the many days of rain and gloom. 

Some of the most beautiful photographs of a path through a forest are those having the stark contrasts
Daylily Country Fair Winds 
popping out of the shadows
between light and shadow.  It adds depth and mystery.  It also allows the woodland plants to thrive in dappled or full shade.  Without this, the woodland orchid could not survive.

All photographers know they must either take photographs in the early morning or late afternoon because the bright full noonday sun removes the nuances necessary for a perfect picture.  A full day of nothing but sunlight would not only burn up a photo, it also burns many a perfect flower.

Without the once-a-year rainfall in certain deserts, some cacti would never bloom.  It depends on this rare downpour to bloom and to seed. 

Smokey Mountains - Colorado
While driving or hiking the mountains of this or other countries, huge snowstorms can make it difficult if not truly dangerous.  Without these storms, the spring melt would not feed our streams and regenerate the earth.

Fires can kill acres of forest and brush; at times homes, wildlife and human life included.  As we mourn those losses, the earth regenerates in ways we never suspect.  New life sprouts from ashes on the forest floor; long dormant seeds sprout from prairielands.

Our own gardens and yards are a constant mystery of change and layers of subtle colors.  On days when some complain it’s dreary, others see layers of gray and browns in a photograph of sepia. 

Foggy on Route 78
While rainwater in our basements or first floor homes is a mess no one voluntarily wants, this spring’s flooding is replenishing our water table relieving the drought that could have brought farming production to its knees.

For those that follow and engage in the doomsday climate change predictions, this deluge of rain does much for staving off the diminishing water table.  Streams and rivers are flowing again; albeit at flood level.

While it will be difficult for someone to embrace this if their house has just been washed away in the great Mississippi, Illinois or Rock River flooding, the power of the waters does clean as it powers down toward the ocean.

Flooding on the Illinois River 2013
These weather conditions or events must be a part of our lives to replenish and renew.  Where humans have settled, their spaces can often be interrupted by the series of events necessary to complete nature’s business.

We can see these weather events as an intrusion upon our lives or rejoice in the layers of beauty they create.  As a gardener, fighting these events is a sure way to take a pleasant hobby and add to the stresses of everyday life.  Design your gardens and yard to take advantage of the events.  Do as nature does and replenish when something is destroyed.

And most of all, take photographs of these less than perfect days.  The full sun of perfect days simply doesn’t have the character and beauty.  As you pour out your frustration when nature picks on your personal comfort by raining and throwing clouds upon your parade or proving once again you aren’t the center of this universe – dance a little happy step and realize you are witnessing the subtle and beautiful shades of nature’s perfection.

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