Friday, April 29, 2011

BEAUTY UNEXPECTED


Beauty can sometime be found in the most unexpected places.

Yesterday evening at twilight, just as the sun was about to disappear behind the higher skyline to the west, I stepped out from the great room onto the narrow deck which runs across the end of the cottage. As you can see, this deck directly faces the river—though usually, when the stream is at normal pool, the river level is ten feet or so down. Now, of course, it is high from all the rain we've had these last couple of weeks. And yes, that water is as close as it appears—about 6 inches below the bottom edge of the deck's 2x12 stringers…and under it, in case you're wondering.

Scary? No, not any more. I've learned this is the usual rise-level after a few days of heavy rains. At this point I have about another 12 inches before it tops the bank and comes into the yard, and 18 or so additional inches of leeway until the water would actually be level with the doorsill and about to get into the house. Somehow I knew, before these rains even began, that the river would treat us right—and I trusted that intuition. I don't want to make too much of this, but it was a gut feeling that should have been unreasonable given the dire forecasts, yet one I believed with a trust beyond mere wishful thinking. 

Anyway…what you see here is the river in front of the cottage, the pool and big riffle—now deep underwater—which appears in many posted photos, and the island across from the house—also mostly underwater. 

While an expanse of high, muddy floodwater might not usually be photogenic, the portion where the golden light of the setting sun smears across the fast-moving surface was—or at least seemed so to me.


What do you say? Hidden beauty, or ugly old floodwater?
———————

18 comments:

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ
oh so beautiful, beauty indeed. Great pictures of golden glaze on a moving water - like a new creation - a recipe of sorts. :-)
Glorious.

I am a bit better. My leg is "relaxing" and I am able to lift it for a bit - I will continue my routine healing routine, balancing exercise and elevation, massage and rest. Phew. "thank you" for all your kind and wise and loving support.
Love Gial
peace.......

Bonnie said...

A shimmering gold path that, to my mind, seems to beckon you. Were you tempted to walk along it, toward the sun?

I've always loved how no matter where you stand, the light from the sun or moon always comes straight to you - and I've frequently wanted to step on that luminous path. (Perhaps you know the scientific/physiological reason for this phenomenon? It must have something to do with eye?)

Rusty said...

Hidden beauty glowing forth!

Kelly said...

...I'm going with liquid gold...beautiful!

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Well, you know I love these water shots and that I'm always looking for a new one because I find them interesting, surprising (never know quite how they'll turn out) and…beautiful. Glad you liked it, too.

But I'm really happy to here you're feeling and doing better. That's the best news. Take care, give it time. Heal.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Your urge to "follow the light" is as old as mankind. For what it's worth, here's my quick take…

We are sensory creatures. Imagine being in a deep cave—no sound, no smell, no air movement, the temperature and humidity exactly that of the surface of your skin; and, of course, impenetrable darkness. Total sensory deprivation. Introduce the merest amount of anything—texture, sound, scent, light—and every receptor in your body immediately focuses. If you really concentrated, you could follow this sensory droplet like a dog being led on a leash.

Now, add back in the usual background "sensory wallpaper" that's ever-present throughout our days and nights. There are always sights, smells, sounds, pressures and textures—the ground underfoot, the fabric of our clothes…but when something extraordinary or at least more powerful than the surrounding matrix materializes—a loud sound, a sharp odor, a splash of water, or a bright, shimmering light—the sensory receptors refocus and home in, grabbing our attention. And if it doesn't appear dangerous, this focus point often makes us curious, draws us in. I think that's just humanness, our genetic hard-wiring at work.

But, I also think there's more going on with your "luminous path" than science can ever explain—which is a deep shift into the human capacity and receptiveness for the spiritual or mystical. Just as we are sensory beings, we are also sensuous beings. ("Sensuous" meaning relating to the senses rather than the intellect. Not quite interchangeable with the word "sensual," which has more to do with gratifying those senses.) Whether it comes through longing or desire or something else, we have a spirit of need and inquiry, an space within that can only be fulfilled outside—beyond—ourselves. Your luminous path strikes at that, draws the eye and heart up, out, and away. There's a message in the light, a calling.

We all look, and feel the urge…but only a few take the steps.

Grizz………… said...

Rusty…

Yup, I agree. And hey, it's great to hear from you!

Grizz………… said...

Kelly…

Liquid gold is was…for about fifteen minutes. But beautiful while it lasted.

Julie Baumlisberger said...

Truly beautiful, I can imagine it was breathtaking in reality! I liked very much what you wrote in your reply to Bonnie's comment. Oh, but that everyone had the fortitude to take that step, that leap of faith! I am always so deeply grateful when I do :D

Bonnie said...

What a comprehensive, illuminating answer Grizz. I appreciate your sharing your insights with me.

My question was referencing the first clause in my first sentence in the second paragraph. (I know, if I wrote with more precision I would not have to come back to interpret!)

I have always wondered why, no matter where you stand the rays of light come right to your feet. If you were standing 100 ft away, it would appear that the rays are coming straight to you. That's actually what I was wondering about, and why I used the words 'scientific, eye, physiological' to guess at where the answer must lie.

You know, people do understand me when I talk. It is another thing when I write. It must be all the hand gestures. ;)

I truly appreciate your answer about why we are drawn to follow that luminous path. :)

Grizz………… said...

Julie…

The part of the scene that I cropped into the second image was really what caught my eye and drew me onto the deck—and I took the wider view as an establishing shot to sort of explain where the second one came from.

Thank you re. the reply to Bonnie. And I agree that much of the magic and reward in life comes from taking that step.

However… while I can certainly make an explanatory mountain out of a molehill, it seems I wasn't on point to Bonnie's real question—so, only mildly daunted, I musk therefore make another attempt.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Yeah, if you learn to write with more precision, I won't have to learn to read with more care…although the truth is, I can read pretty well and you can write pretty well and I just took my eye off the ball and messed up. Duh.

The good part is that your real question is easier and avoids stepping off the bus into metaphysics, religion, fantasy, or myth, and we don't need to chew on some of those peyote buttons for further enlightment.

Sunlight is always coming straight at you, no matter where you are because, unlike the focused beam of a flashlight, it's a many times brighter omnidirectional light—an all-encompassing wash of light rather than a mere beam. We speak of sunbeams, and even think we see and photograph them, but that's really only a portion of the overall source light that's reduced to shafts or "beams" because of other surrounding portions being partially blocked. (Think clouds, leafy-trees, windows.) The ones you see right at your feet are there because that's the reflective point. You just can't see another portion of that same huge wall of illumination stop at your eyes because you are seeing the light itself. And the angle never changes because the sun is so far away and so many times bigger than us—or the entire earth—that any movement is insignificant.

It also worth remembering that the light of the sun is light in motion…light traveling at the speed of light. That light which shines in our face and lays out the bright path at our feet is a continuous stream hurtling at something over 186,000 miles per second.

The moon, of course, produces no light of its own, but simply reflects the light of the sun…again, from our earthbound perspective, omnidirectional light. So its effects are the same. And why, incidentally, the proper exposure for a moon photo is the same as for a volleyball in your back yard at high noon being lit straight on by the sun—you're not photographing the moon's surrounding darkness, you're photographing the reflected light of full sun.

There you have it. A quasi-scientific answer, portions of which may even be correct, though subject to opinion, and making no claims as to technical expertise or language. (Except for the bit about photographing the moon.)

The Solitary Walker said...

I say the former - though it may be the latter if it lapped into the cottage!

Grizz………… said...

Solitary...

In which case, my next post title would be: NO SURPRISE, UGLY'S HERE!

Bonnie said...

Thanks Grizz! :) Between your two responses, I leave feeling enlightened on many levels!!!

I'll keep the photographing the moon tip in mind. Thank you.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Hey, I'll take a shot at answering whatever questions, even if I know practically nothing about the truth of the matter. That's what we writer-types do…baffle and amaze with verbosity. (Actually I think I'm fairly accurate in my reply; I just hope I understood the question the second time around.)

BALAJI K said...

Fantastic post! I enjoyed your writing as-well-as the photograph! a real hidden-beauty ! gives a great pleasure, just as the pleasure an unexpected visitor/guest gives us sometimes ! Thank you so much!

Grizz………… said...

Bakajik…

Thank you for your nice comment. I'm glad you enjoyed both the writing and photograph. I hope you visit often—you're always welcome.

Welcome to Riverdaze!