Monday, November 15, 2010

FROST AND CHEER



This was one of those frost-on-your-pumpkin sort of mornings—although the only pumpkin hereabouts is a huge discard considerably larger than a basketball, someone apparently threw into the river a week after Halloween. 


The poor jettisoned pumpkin made it as far as the riffle in front of the cottage, where it then got stuck in the shallows between the stones—doomed to mutely await the breakdown of the flesh that eventually comes to us all…or alternately, being set free by a providential rise in the water level, thus enabled to continue on its downstream adventure.
But while pumpkins may be in short supply, brown fallen leaves, and a few green ones such as those on violets, are not. I liked the way the the frost added a delicate filagreed border around many leaf edges, dusted others like sprinkled sugar, and made the ribs on the big sycamore leaves stand out like crystalized bone. 


Somewhere in the dark tangle of cedars along the fence, a Carolina wren sang ebulliently. Chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches were busy working the feeders. The dapper chickadees seemed especially energized by the brisk-but-sunny morning. 


Of course, a bit of sunshine and a handy supply of sunflower seeds to pilfer are all any chickadee ever needs to be sent into spasms of noisy delight. I expect there's a lesson in there for all of us with our long lists of conditions that must be met before we deign to greet a new morning with even half so much honest cheer.




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40 comments:

Kelly said...

...love today's post and its happy message. Also the first photo is beautiful--the frost highlights the hidden heart shapes of the leaves. I bet Wanda will love this post too! (Little Chiggy looks cute too.)

grammie g said...

Hi Grizz..How fortunate you are to be near the waters edge...a dream I've had all my life to be on a lake or river!!
Frost although very tingling to the touch can produce a multitude of designs that helps to enhance an other wise dreary morning!!
I was at my local super market and was looking for the canned pumpkin to make my grandson a pie for Thanksgiving and asked for help.
A kind gentlemen showed me where it was and said, it is in short supply,if you want more you should take it now!!
And you have two cans at least in front of your place wasting away!! lol ; }

Val said...

i love the way frost etches out all the details. Shame about the pumpkin though - how sad to be cast out immediately after the festivities. I love your photos - such clarity and colour! No frost here....ever :)

Grizz………… said...

Kelly…

Thank you. It wasn't much of a frost, but I tried to make the best of it. BTW, I thought of Wanda and her heart collecting, too.

Grizz………… said...

Grammie…

Don't think canned pumpkin is in short supply hereabouts as the mega-grocery nearby has end-isle heaps. I picked up a four or five cans last week for Thanksgiving. Besides pies, I use it as a base for my squash, carrot, sweet potato & onion soup.

Yup, that's a shameful waste of a huge pumpkin. And that is a really big pumpkin—don't know how to guess the pounds, but it's about as big in diameter as most folks could reach around. It had to weigh 40-50 pounds. You have to wonder about the sort of people who waste such things…

Grizz………… said...

Val…

My first thought when I saw the pumpkin was…well, the party is over and you got kicked out, or actually, tossed. I don't believe it was carved into a jack-o-lantern or anything—just a big ol' punkin' heaved into the river and allowed to float away.

You'd probably have to go up Mount Kenya to find frost, huh? It is neat the way it settles around stuff sometimes. We'll likely have more photogenic frosts on mornings to come—but seeing as how Moon the dog and I were out for our ramble, I couldn't resist a few shots.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: Great frost photos! I've been looking for the perfect frost photo for Roundtop Ruminations for this year--haven't been happy with any of them yet. I'm still working on it!

CArolyn H.

George said...

What a splendid way to greet the morning! All of the photos are great, as usual, but the header photo is extraordinary. Once again, I am always amazed at nature's artwork, most of which goes unnoticed. Too many photographers give up after the first frost, but I think winter offers its own visual treats, though one must work a little harder to keep it interesting.

Rusty said...

Beautiful photograph, though a little chilling in it's portent. (Winter comes).

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely photographs again Grizz. Sad about the pumpkin - he had served his purpose and was discarded. I had a job to see that tit in the last photograph, how well the branches disguised him. My all time favourite photograph of yours though is the snow scene which was on Bonnie's interview - I keep going back to look at it - it is a real prizewinner.
Yes, I agree, forst paints the edges of leaves to perfection.

Grizz………… said...

Carolyn…

Thank you. But in all honesty, this was just a "barely" frost…that is, there was barely any frost on the ground. I was actually trying to make an image of some leaves on a honeysuckle bush with sprinkled frost on them—unsuccessfully as it turned out because I failed to check camera setting beforehand—when I noticed a little shaded place with a tad more frost. This one just turned out a lot better than I hoped. You can see on the sycamore leaf that there's not much frost. We haven't had a really heavy, sparkling frost yet.

Grizz………… said...

George…

Thank you, as always—though as I explained to Carolyn, the frost was very light and I just sorta lucked onto a more photogenic pocket.

You know, I really like winter photography. I like looking for those little scenes, like all the sparkle and reflections, and all the light. Winter makes you work more, maybe, but in a way, it does a lot of editing for you—presenting you with these big visual landscapes, opening things up, reducing clutter to a handful of basic elements. A single red berry or a single red cardinal can make a shot come alive. Texture becomes important, color is subtle and changes with time of day. Winter photography depends on your mind as much as your technique. I like that. Sort of a Zen approach to finding and making images.

Grizz………… said...

Rusty…

I try not to take winter's approach too metaphorically…though, of course, one can't help but be reminded of these things. And I really don't dread the cold as many do—I don't like being cold, but I like winter as a season, and warmer clothes and a cozy hearthfire take care of the rest.

Grizz………… said...

Weaver…

Thank you. And thank you again for your nice words re. that winter upstream scene over at Bonnie's Original Art Studio. I would never have guessed that would top your favorites list.

The bird in the bottom shot is a chickadee. Not a very good shot, which is why I made it small in layout. But you do know you can double-click on an image and it will enlarge considerably—right?

Again, thank you.

deb said...

Well... you had me at chickadees. They elicit a simple joy. My husband and I went for a hike in the rain yesterday and feeding the chickadees and nuthatches was a perfect way to unwind from the week.

here via your interview at Bonnie's place, Grizz. Looking forward to reading and gazing and soaking this place in.

Gail said...

GRIZZ-

Oh that first picture is magical - colors begging to be seem through frosty film - all the pictures are amazing. I love the story they tell of your world through your keen eyes. I am still overflowing form all the love and tribute of Saturday - I expect I will be such for quite some time. Today flowers were delivered from well-wishing family - and so it goes on. I am getting excited for Thanksgiving - preparing to write my "Why I am thankful for you letters" to all who will be at our table that day - a long time wonderful tradition. :-)
Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Grizz………… said...

Deb…

Hey, I'm pleased you found your way here from Bonnie's Original Art Studio (Thank you again, Bonnie!) and glad you like the riverbank. You're always welcome here.

I'd hate to calculate the amount of time I spend each year watching chickadees and nuthatches through various windows, while sitting on the porch, or when I'm supposed to be doing things like raking leaves or planting bulbs. Moreover, I don't regret a single minute.

BTW, I took a quick look at your blog and liked what I saw—especially that introductory post. You write well. I'll be back.

Again, welcome!

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

We're supposed to have rain tomorrow—so probably no frosty leaves for a few days, though the pumpkin might get to continue its journey.

I'm glad you had such a nice retirement celebration. You earned it—and it's a good way to move on from that part of your life, knowing you were so loved and appreciated.

Those letters sound like a really neat tradition. And like you, I'm getting ready to start getting ready for Thanksgiving. As chief cook, I do the whole gig—and it's my favorite meal—feast!—of the year, both to make and enjoy.

Take care…

Jain said...

Grizz, the frosty violet and clover leaves pop off my screen, really pretty!
I grinned at the pumpkin/human analogy, and again at your working filagree, sugar, and bone into one sentence.
Wish I had time to comment on every post, but know I enjoy them all.

Grizz………… said...

Jain…

You know, I hadn't even noticed the clover leaves! Some naturalist, huh? Guess I looked at the shot more as an image and missed the content—which isn't the first time that's happened.

Hey, no need to apologize re. blog commenting. I have the same problem—reading blogs regularly but not having the time to say something. I'm trying to do better, but I know there are blogs I miss too often. I'm just glad you read Riverdaze and enjoy it. I always read Bankside, too. Comment whenever the spirit moves you and time allows…

ellen abbott said...

the frost is so delicately beautiful but I'm glad it's not here. I get to watch the wrens and chickadees and titmice here too.

Grizz………… said...

Ellen…

Hey, I'm pleased you liked the frost shot. You sounded so happy about only seeing frost photographically rather than actually experiencing the stuff in person in your own yard, I got curious and checked to see which hot-weather state you called home. Guess you can't imagine what's wrong with a fellow who actually prefers frost and frostbite to sunburn and snakebite, eh? Actually, I don't mind snakes, I do love snow and winter, but I hate hot weather. That's why we live in a big country and everybody isn't settled in the same corner.

Keep checking in here, you'll see enough shots featuring ice, snow, and frost to enable you to turn your air conditioning down a notch or two. :-D

Wanda..... said...

Kelly is right...your frosty leaf hearts did catch my eye, I especially like the small leaves in the upper left corner with the sprinkled sugar effect. Frost is is like a tease of what's to come...reminding us how beautiful winter snow can be!

AfromTO said...

What,you didn't get the rod out and try and reel in a pumpkin? Now that would have been a great tale to tell as you cooked it up into pies.Nice white fuzzy sweaters on the leaves shot.

Grizz………… said...

Wanda…

Ha! I knew you'd go for the heart shapes, even as focused the shot. Kelly knew that right away, too. No one who reads your blog regularly could overlook such a fact. I'm glad you liked the pix…and I also liked the "sprinkled sugar" effect on several of the leaves. Frost is a foretaste of winter.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Actually, as low as the river is due to our 5-month drought, I could walk out and simply pick up the pumpkin—no need to employ the rod which I keep rigged and ready on a rack beside the front door. And I would have retrieved and cooked it if I hadn't figured it was a leftover from Halloween (it appeared in the riffle several days, maybe even a week after Halloween) and well past its edible prime.

I take it you're getting along and looking forward to winter—doubtless painting up a storm. Good to hear from you.

Jayne said...

Uh, are you sure you were not writing this for me today? :c) Sitting here trying to get out of a surly mood caused by someone else not caring to show up when they said they would. Oh, but people disappoint me so easily... need to go find some sunflower seeds and be thankful....

Molly said...

What a stunning photograph....Love the words too!

Grizz………… said...

Jayne…

I write 'em, dress 'em in their best pix, and put 'em out there with orders to go forth and do their best. It just makes me a proud papa when someone comes along and finds something in them to like or use. Did I write it for you? You bet!

Grizz………… said...

Molly…

So glad you liked the photo. It turned out well for a plain old frost in a pail old yard. Thank you.

Tramp said...

No frost here yet, we are experiencing such abnormally high temperatures for November.
I came across a group of "chickadees" in "spasms of delight" this morning, while walking past a block of flats. It was a morning of totally penetrating damp, not rain mind you, just totally penetrating damp. Like Weaver I recognise these birds as members of the tit family; there were great tits and blue tits in the group I saw. The delight was a result of a well-stocked bird table someone had placed in some shrubs, probably placed to give them a good view from the window of a flat (sorry, apartment).
Anyway that first shot shows another dimension to the incredible texture of leaves
...Tramp

Grizz………… said...

Tramp…

We've had an unusually warm autumn here, too—in spite of the frost photo—and until this afternoon, practically no rain for months.

You know, I should have considered the different nomenclature regarding the chickadee/tit, but when Weaver said she could hardly see it, I thought she maybe hadn't double-clicked to enlarge, and was mistaking it for a titmouse (a little grayish bird slightly bigger than the chickadee) which I'd also mentioned in the piece. My mistake.

Hope you're still on the mend re. your back and the eyesight is much better. Take care, my friend…

sage said...

incredible photos--my kind of morning

Grizz………… said...

Sage…

Yup, me too—love these crisp late-autumn mornings.

Hilary said...

The magic of your morning is that it's just made mine better. Thank you for that. Gorgeous pics.

Grizz………… said...

Hilary…

Thank you for such a lovely compliment. I'm glad you enjoyed both the pix and post.

Julie Baumlisberger said...

Greetings from southern Ontario, Canada! I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago, and am grateful for the opportunity to enjoy your photography and writings.

I take many photos myself - living in the country provides a constantly changing canvas of flora and fauna that is so wonderful to capture with the camera. That moment in time can be relived each time you look at the photo...

In a world where it's easy to get wrapped up in chaos (yes, even in the country;!) it's great to find refuges such as your blog, where one can stop and realize there is beauty everywhere, we just have to slow down and appreciate it.

Your new fan from Grand Valley,
Julie

Grizz………… said...

Julie…

What a lovely greeting comment. Thank you. I really appreciate your nice words. Most of all, I'm glad you found your way to the riverbank and liked what you saw. This isn't a fancy blog, and doesn't strive to be educational. It's just photos and posts, mostly tied in one way or another to nature, all but devoid of ranting and most likely to be written about things of interest, beauty, or quirky fun. I would indeed like to think of it as sort of a comfortable refuge. Please know that you're always welcome.

Linda said...

A lovely post and beautiful photos. That first one, of the frost on the leaves, is just amazing.

Grizz………… said...

Linda...

Thank you. I was lucky on that first shot given that it was really a very light frost. But the way it edges the violet leaves is really lovely.