This past weekend, we had unseasonably warm weather for December in South Carolina and I was hit –unseasonably, as well– with a touch of spring fever. I went out on Friday night and walked along the banks of our creek hoping to find a salamander out and about or some other animal revived by the warming trend. I managed to, in fact, spot a salamander in the creek– just barely, before it slipped under the bank–and a lone water boatman lazily dipping, diving and twirling about in a small pool. Other than that, a few raccoon tracks were all that materialized. In the morning, I was amazed to hear a few stray spring peepers getting an early start on their yearly ritual. I quickly ran out into the foggy morning hoping that I could find just one of the tiny amphibians to photograph before winter came back from lunch. My search ended in vain, and I was stuck with the silence that was only broken occassionally by the death rattle of beech leaves, which still clung tightly to slender branches. However, it wasn't long before I became charmed by the forms of the stripped down trees and mist shrouded landscape all around me. If winter is a metaphor for life here in the temperate zone, it most certainly represents our world's need for rest and reflection. In my own life, I find it very difficult to relax at times because I am constantly thinking about my next move and have already begun plotting out what I'll be up to when spring returns next year. Photography in the winter months, here in South Carolina, is very challenging to me because the deciduous areas of the state become stuck in a sort of visual no man's land; between the faded colors of autumn and the verdancy of spring not yet realized. We don't have the cleansing snows of the north and the simplicity of a desert winter. Instead, we are often left with a jumble of denuded forms screaming for attention all at once. It will serve me well to be patient in the understanding that spring will return again soon.
This Haiku by Buson sums up my emotions in three elegant lines:
Winter rain on moss
soundlessly recalls those
happy by gone days
More Winter Haiku can be found here.