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Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

The Delaware River in her many moods extends a never-ending invitation to be photographed. Just three houses away, I’m able to easily see whatever weather-inspired beauty is happening on the river on any given day.

One of my favorite views is after rain or snow, when the fog in the area has cleared, and a cloud all her own has settled on the river.

I’d already started my work, but when I looked outside, I couldn’t resist, so slipped out with my camera down to the edge of the road.

There’s just such a moodiness at this time of year to how that cloud sits low, and the wintery colors are as rich in their own way as the green vibrancy of spring. If I were able, I could happily just pull up a chair and sit for hours.

This very old concrete structure had something to do with the railroad tracks and the trains that once ran here, I imagine. Oddly enough, I’ve never inspected it more closely, and today that ground was a field of mud beneath the leaf litter.

An ancient twisting tree of the sort that inhabits mysteries and horror stories. One of the joys of the winter months is in appreciating the skeletal silhouettes of so many different types of trees.

Rising from the misty shrouds is a ghostly white hotel on the far river bank in Pennsylvania, appearing to be much closer than it actually is.

On drier days, I can go over the tracks and much closer to the river’s edge, but the muddy ground was soaked, and on the bluff overlooking the river at this point, undoubtedly quite slippery. So I just counted myself lucky to live near such beauty, and returned, inspired, to my work

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While waiting for needed input on a number of projects yesterday, I decided to take the walk I’d been putting off. It was sunny and crisp, and even in mid-afternoon, with the shorter days, the light was angling through the trees and casting long shadows.

Ornamental grasses flanking a walkway sport their furry blooms. Many trees in the area have lost the majority of their leaves.

Long shadows are cast by an already lowering sun.
In the background, a sparkling river moseys south.

Something new for me when I moved to this side of the state was the concept of rural delivery. The postal carrier does not bring mail to the mailbox by your front door, but instead leaves it in mailboxes which stand alone or in groups at the edge of properties and driveways. Certainly makes sense considering how much of this area is farmland!

My town was initially established in the mid 18th century, a mill town on the river, but was not officially incorporated with its current name until 1925. It went through many names, among them Burnt Mills after the grist mill was destroyed by fire in 1769. Many older buildings grace the town, this one (I’m estimating late 1800’s) is converted to a barber shop and residence.

Trees along the riverbank holding on to the last of their leaves.

Looking north, the Delaware is a sea of calm. Whether due to rain or the extended warmth of much of the fall season, there were not many of the brilliant oranges and reds to be found among the trees this year. Instead, the green leaves seemed to fade to dull yellows and browns.

A group of Canada geese swim, relax, and feed at the edge of the riverbank.

An oak leaf on the textured concrete bridge path looks both crisp and leathery. It’s shadow seems to have another life altogether, something insectile.

A train once connected Phillipsburg about 1/2 hour north of my town all the way south to Lambertville, paralleling the river. The tracks were recently cleared and maintained to allow a train to travel several miles for fun trips for passengers at an annual event. The mournful whistle of the steam engine could be heard for two days, and then on occasion afterward.

Walking with my camera always opens my eyes to my surroundings, and causes me to be very grateful to live where I do – an older, established community with a long history, and where people still are gracious and kind.

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It’s always a bit of a surprise when the clock turns back to “regular” time and it starts getting dark earlier. We know it’s coming and why, but it’s never fails to be an adjustment. It seems the most clear demarcation of the end of all things blooming and the deepest step towards winter.

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I was determined to give my camera and myself a little exercise Sunday, but was not prepared for the sun already setting lower at 2:30 in the afternoon. The sky was alternately blustery grey, bright blue, or streaked with layered clouds. You can see the Delaware River in the background as I walked parallel to it heading north. The tracks once connected all of the river towns on the Jersey side, and I hear rumors from time to time of their being restored.

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It’s funny how you can pass the same thing so many times and yet not truly notice it. These old doors belong to a 2-story stone garage. What’s interesting is the structure is completely made of stone and mortar except for over the doors, where it appears to be made of odd, stone-like shapes of brick. It’s most unusual and makes me wonder what purpose this was once used for. The space is big enough to have housed at least one horse stall, but it seems more suited as a garage. The style of stonework is really quite old.

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Lately I find myself noticing all kinds of textures. The worn paint and the rusted hinges enchanted me. I think I could have taken dozens of photographs of just the front of this structure, maybe even of the doors themselves.

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The front, looking up. I love the stone windowsill and the wooden lintel. Someone has been keeping up with the concrete repair around the stone and brickwork.

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The sky was such a changing mix of things, but the river seemed moody and sullen. No lovers tarried on the bridge this afternoon.

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Skies looked brighter in the east. A few lone hangers-on from some type of shrub waved in the breeze. Orange leaves drifted down, speckling a surprisingly still verdant lawn.

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The sun cast long shadows as I continued to walk. So many beautiful old trees in this area, not cut or abolished as you see in so many of the newly developed tracts. Here trees have their place and are appreciated for their beauty, their shade, and for the part they play in creating a place people like for its coziness and charm. I could walk – and take photographs – all day.

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If you live anywhere in the swath of the recent and impending snowstorms that we have been having/will soon have, I know what you’re really saying, as am I, not Let It Snow, but Let It Stop.

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The other night I heard the weatherman on TV saying to “Embrace the cold.” I’m having a hard time with that as it just keeps on coming … and with snow and ice. But he has a point. Shaking our fists at the skies doesn’t change a thing, so we do best to try and settle into peaceful acceptance.
And with that, came a few photos of said snow.

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And even after the snowiest day, once the sky clears, it’s still great to have your laundry smelling fresh.

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Spring brings a particular delight to many who suddenly really notice the trees in their new, colorful finery. The weeping cherries, flowering plums, dogwoods and magnolias literally herald the season and confirm the retreat of winter. But for those of us who feel deeply connected to nature, trees are magnificent in all seasons. They are equally as beautiful in their fresh Spring blooming as in their Fall brilliance as in their Winter bareness, where the most basic structure of their being proudly holds forth.

Many authors have written about the wonder and beauty of trees over the centuries. In an earlier post I even took a turn on writing about trees myself. However, two lovely things have crossed my path in the last few days about trees … one a video, and one in the book I’m reading by Dr. Wayne Dyer, (Wishes Fulfilled.) He quotes 18th century poet, William Blake:

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all Ridicule and Deformity … and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is imagination itself.” – William Blake

And with this in mind, passed on by a friend, an absolutely magnificent video of trees called Listen with Your Heart …

 

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Although I wrote this poem December 4 and had made a few edits, I intended to tighten it up further and submit it before the deadline to children’s book author David Harrison’s blog. He has a poetry contest each month, writing to a specific topic. December’s was “Bones.” I’m guessing with the holidays, my intentions got lost in the shuffle as I missed the deadline, so I’m posting it here. If interested, David’s topic for January is “Time.”

BONES

In violet, indigo and dusky blue,
they shadow their bones
across silver snow
in the sharp morning sun.

They bare their essence
and nod in silence
to admiring passersby.

Standing tall
in their most primitive selves
they are visions
of grace and pride.

I am Oak.
I am Ash.
I am Poplar.

Soon enough
Spring will come
cloaking their branches in
effusive greens,
in camouflage,
and playful disarray.

But for winter …

I am my bones.

Jeanne Balsam
December 2009

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