Monday, December 12, 2005

Distractions

The spectacular light show through the heavy storm clouds has kept me busy with my camera much of the day. No sooner would I get going really well on a project than shifting reflections through the skylight would entice me back to the windows for some new glimpse of my ever-changing world.

This is a day when I have been trying to re-organize my work area and get my papers and cd’s organized so I can find things again. Why is it that things seem to pile up so quickly? I am even behind in reading my e-mail this week. Since it was only eight degrees when I started my day, it wasn’t hard to choose tasks that kept me under a warm roof. Nonetheless, with these tasks in front of me it is very easy to be distracted by the changing light outside. “All color seems bleached out of the earth, and what was a few weeks since a glowing landscape has now become a still bas-relief. The hills stand unveiled; the beautiful leaves are gone, and the eye seeks in vain for a trace of the brilliant drapery of autumn- even its discolored shreds lie buried beneath the snow. The fields are all alike: meadow and cornfield and hop-ground, lie shrouded and deserted; neither laborers nor cattle are seen a-field during these months of our year. Gray lines of wooden fences, old stumps, and scattered leafless trees are all that break the broad, white waste, which a while since bore the harvests of summer.” --- Susan Fenimore Cooper, Rural Hours page 284. Since I love reading nature journals, I was delighted to discover the one I quoted above, a voice from one hundred fifty years ago reaches me through the pages of “Rural Hours” by Susan Fenimore Cooper. First published in 1850 her reflections on New York excerpted from her diaries traces the changing seasons in and around Cooperstown in 1848 and 1849. Susan took daily walks in all seasons. She recorded her observations of natural things -- birds, wildflowers, Lake Otsego -- as well as passing events in her diary. Her work touches on my interest in American History; New York History journaling and natural history.

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