Autumn comes alive in the High Desert with heady scents. Wet and dripping sage made a scent so thick, I felt as though I was trudging through it. I stumbled over the faded yellow of rabbit brush, and bitterbrush leaves were falling to the ground like confetti (hooray!
- they quietly celebrated - hooray for fall!).
The air became so musky after this October Rain that I could barely stand to breath it for so long, but I felt I must. I had to seek out the season on this afternoon. The rain was still coming down, but only like a mist now and in the understory I found myself dry.
Now and then I took pictures of the bright florescence of lichen along an ancient juniper, or the soft heart-leaves of the bitterbrush.
The rain began to harden, and sent great drips to darken the juniper bark to black and more than ever, I found the silhouettes in abundance, which speak to me always, more loudly than the greens or soft yellows. (Even now, these last two pictures intrude, as a small child does to a deep conversation between adults. So I must create a distance here...)
I found myself standing under and looking up...
The dark trees against a gray sky was stark and beautiful and like a sirens call, I found that I couldn't stand to see the sweet and bright.
...only the black, the gray, the twisted, the dripping, the hard-edged and soft smoke of far away things. I was tired of the sweetness and the loud celebration of confetti and the hoorays. I wanted the quiet knowledge of the turning of the wheel. I wanted the chin-lifted, eyes-closed sort of acceptance of the season's coming...and here it was...in shadow and mist.
I was mesmerized by the worlds that were created in one single photograph.
I began to ask myself, "What is this I am seeing? Surely it is more than lichen on a juniper branch. Surely it is more than pine needles and twisting wood. This must be something more."
And so I clicked and clicked and clicked until I realized that no amount of photo-taking was going to tell me what it really was that had caught my attention.
That had been part of the celebrating; the mind-set of the 'hooray!'
All of this darkness and rain was telling me to be still and listen instead.
Stop wondering, stop the confetti dropping...just look at the tiny bits of gray light inside the black twists...how intricate, how perfect...what a miracle each edge and curve is.
I saw the mystery. I saw the gray, the outline, the shape of non-things, the mist, the hardness, the dark, the strangeness...I hope you see it too.
I have never made friends with the twilight...that part of the day when the shadows are long and dark and you cannot make out the monster or the tree. When bats begin to swoop in the brown-black skies and there are dark spots darting on the ground. This day I shook its hand. I nodded to its unknown.