Friday, 10 January 2014
One of the things I love about our valley, and about the island in general, is the abundance of water. We are blessed with lakes, rivers, marshes, estuaries, and ocean all around us, and all of this water creates a constantly changing landscape.
Water has a million different faces, from mirror-like reflective calm to fierce wild rapids, from chuckling creeks to roaring storm waves, baring their white teeth as they rush at the shore.
In the ten-or-so miles between my home and my office, I'll often see several of these faces.
This morning calm was found in the side channels of the estuary, smooth and still as glass, while the main channel of the river was rippled by the breeze. Where current met rock deep below the surface of the river, smooth flat circles formed on the surface, each edged in a ridge-like wave that seemed constant even as the water flowed downstream.
The waters of the bay were calm enough to reflect the surrounding hills but the reflections were rendered in impressionist brush strokes by the movement of wind and tide.
The strait offshore from where I work is rougher, moire satin; a strong offshore breeze moving the water and then sweeping up the hill towards me, rustling the branches on the cedar trees and causing the flags to snap on their poles.
And yet, despite their different moods, all these waters share a common palette: a reflection of the somber winter colours in the landscape around them. They are painted with broad brushstrokes of silver, grey, and blue, with washes of dark green and seer brown from evergreen and stone cliffs.
Here and there a few sharp thin strokes of brilliant red and bright ochre provide a counterpoint; the colours of willow and dogwood and marsh grass shouting against the quiet of the day.
Through this still life, birds and small creatures dart. Majestic eagles perch in the bare branches of ancient maple trees. Herons fish patiently along the shore. Great flocks of starlings rise from the fields and wheel as one in a sweeping dance across the sky.
I could watch it forever.
I hope that wherever you are today, bright or dark, warm or cold, inland or seaside, you find a moment or two to enjoy the beauty of your surroundings too. Have a fabulous Friday.