It’s time to say good-bye to Fall, at least the Fall when the trees paint our landscapes in glorious colors. I did not take the beautiful photos that are included in this blog post. They appeared in The Post Standard, in Syracuse, NY in the center of New York State, which is a perfect town from which to sally forth to places where Nature puts on a great display, at least in a good year, (and this was a very good year for Fall color). So I will not harangue you with any of my political commentary, I am just going to drown you in the beauty of what really fine photographers can make from the internal chemistry of deciduous trees.
It may require a bit of a mind jerk to move from red lines in Syria and union busting in the United States to a contemplation of the weeping willow, but that’s the way this brain of mine works. Perhaps contemplating heartless dictators and short-sighted politicians sends me back to the safer, simpler days of my childhood. We take comfort where we can. Natural beauties also soothe my soul and remind me that the world is full of both ugliness and beauty. And breathing fresh air removes the cloudy bits from the dark corners of my soul, at least temporarily. Anyway, I have been thinking about weeping willows.
Weeping willows seem to be sort of scare now. They once adorned capacious lawns, pastoral expanses of emerald green well-tended grass. They also like to grow near water. They are whimsical and wispy with slender leafy branches that seem to lift at the top and then drip delicately down to trail on the ground. If cut back these dainty branches drift airily back and forth. They seem to have that same poetic Asian beauty that all weepy things possess, a subject for ancient scrolls or haiku.
When I was a child there were plenty of these trees gracing many a sweeping landscape. We could take our dolls or just our imaginations under the branches of whichever tree had the lowest hanging tips and hide out in the cool green space that surrounded the trunk. It was good for sword fights too. It could morph into a lovely room with a backrest, perfect for escape or reading. It always seemed cool there even on the hottest summer days. We did not own this particular tree that I am recalling; we just visited it occasionally.
But weeping willows take up lots of space and they are said to be messy trees strewing biological detritus beneath and all around. Now these trees are rare to see, at least in my neighborhood, although I found several excellent examples on a recent ride. Instead we go to nurseries and buy dwarf weepers that have the aesthetics but none of the blowsy Scarlett O’Hara decadence and none of the whispered invitations to attend a tea party in their depths. I guess weeping willows are the whales or elephants of the tree world and people are crowding them out. As a friend of mine says, sad……………..
I had to clean off my car three times yesterday. Now that seems a little excessive, universe. Once I did get the car cleaned off and I hit the road I had to admit that the winter world looked pretty, just like a post card. After all snow is just solid water. If we didn’t have to shovel it I might like it a lot better. I also must admit that we are not having a ridiculous amount of snow in my neighborhood this year. The snow banks are not taller than our cars which they sometimes are. But I do find myself longing for a less austere beauty, something a bit more colorful and warm. So today I am presenting you and me with some lovely gardens that we can look at, admire, pretend we are walking in to the delight of our senses.
Richard Diebenkorn’s paintings distill the essence of the landscapes around him in California where he produced some of the painting of his that I love the most. I would happily surround myself with all the paintings in his Ocean Park Series and they would satisfy my spirit for a long, long time, perhaps forever. I love the way he uses color, and his geometry. He’s an eagle soaring over the beaches and sand of southern California. Some of these painting are also from his Berkeley Series and some were untitled. You can see more of these on-line by searching images of Richard Diebenkorn.
As someone who lives in the Northeastern US and only gets to see an ocean once in a while on vacation, and who has never seen the Pacific Ocean, Mr. Diebenkorn brings the beaches of California to me.