Monday, November 27, 2006

A stretch of river XXVI: What matters

. . . till we reach a firm bottom and rocks in place, and say This is, and no mistake, and there begin . . .
--Thoreau, Walden

Of course the leaves have been falling here for some weeks now, but this morning, fresh from our return from Mobile, the trees and shrubs along the river looked especially barren. Perhaps they seemed that way because of my own melancholy today. At any rate, as Scruffy and I looked at them and noted that some of that barrenness was also due to the apartment complex's groundskeepers' having removed some of the low-lying shrubs, the usual comparisons of limbs to bones leapt to mind. Boring.

And, as I kicked about and Scruffy sniffed about the dead leaves along our path, not apt. Not really. The leaves matter for a season, but they have served their purpose. More leaves will take their place in the spring. The limbs, the trees' and shrubs' essence, are what, finally, matters. It is a plain, ordinary, unador(n)ed truth but, just now, it is one I find myself needing to be reminded of: as the holiday trappings go up, covering that bareness, it matters to not lose track of that.

UPDATE: My new favorite blogger, Hank of A Lake County Point of View, here has a quote by Andrew Wyeth that says better than I did what I was trying to say:
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.


debra said...

Welcome back, John B.! I hope you enjoyed your trip.

Ariel said...

I appreciate the (necessary) melancholy of things-as-they-are, the bare-bones realities around us, not yet fully fleshed out.

As King Lear would say, "the thing itself." Thanks for the reminder.

Winston said...

Welcome back!

Roots. Don't forget the roots. That's where it starts and endures and ends. Roots...

R. Sherman said...

Glad you're back safe.

I read this yesterday and wanted to comment and then decided against it.

Today is a new day, however.

I used to think Autumn was the best season, but as I get older, those little seasonal reminders of age creep in.

There is a plan, even if we can't see it or refuse to acknowlege it.


John B. said...

A very belated thanks to all of you for the welcome back and for commenting.

Yeah--the fall seemed quite melancholy. But now as I write, yesterday's heavy snow seems to have lifted that feeling: the blank slate.