Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fragile Winter Sky

On Sunday, I stopped briefly in “my” meadow, just as the sun was setting.

There’s something fragile about a winter sunset. Even though the clouds of a winter sky often seem heavier than those of summer, their color seems to fade more quickly, and the colors tend more toward pearl and gray, rather than blue and violet.

Still, it is beautiful.

And the colors of a winter sky seem to better complement the muted colors of field and forest. In the fields, the dried corn stubble has lost its golden undertone, and shows silver-grey against the black soil. Across the meadow, the woods look black, except where the lingering oak and beech leaves add notes of dun and taupe.

Muted colors for the end of autumn.

Of course, at this time of year, we see all around us the fragility of life itself, as leaves die and fall, birds flee the cold and dark, the life-giving sun seems paler and more distant, and we enter the long period of darkness that is winter.

As I sat and watched the sky, I became aware of a slight, very slight, movement at the edge of the field, near one of the tree “islands” that is a haven for birds and animals. I looked closely, peering through the dusk. And then there it was: A ring-necked pheasant, a male.

As I raised my field glasses, it crouched down and tried to become invisible. I assume that it’s one of the poor captive birds that hunters raise and release here in order to kill them. That’s a fragile existence―

I took a few quick photos and moved on, leaving the bird crouching in the gathering darkness.

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