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joanna paterson

along the way

6 January Haiku

a crow picking light
from yesterday’s chips,
this winter morning

soft tears again
for this unknown grief –
the silhouttes of crows

another long day
not finding the words –
blackbird song at dusk

dark green reeds
in the icegrey water
a duck ripples

across the river
in the dun coloured grasses
a white football

snowy morning –
the tails of three magpies
flicking sunlight

The Light of this Day

One of the biggest gifts of photography, for me, is that it teaches me to notice and appreciate the light.

The way it falls, the way it moves and changes, the way it throws shadows, and the way it illuminates.

I find when I try and think back on a year I am taken instead to particular days, particular places, particular moments – watching, and noticing the light.

Although we love to love the newness and promise of a brand new year, I will keep on learning to notice the look of this day, this place, here, now.

low winter light shot low down on a river

Have a very happy New Year when it comes!

What a Gift

Boots.

Ice grippers to stop me from falling.

A path from my door that leads to a nature reserve in a disused quarry.

Ten minutes walk, and no need to drive on ice.

Blue skies, and brilliant sunshine.

A camera that fits in my pocket.

It being Sunday morning.

The thickness of the frost, hanging on everything, tree branches, bulrushes, nettles, and everything drooping with its weight and glinting with its brilliance.

A path dipping through it, like entering a Christmas card.

An avenue of trees.

The aesthetic of winter.

trees in winter in mist on a frosty morning

Ice.

Sunshine.

Sunday.

Boots.

Wishing you all all the gifts of the season – especially the free sort

Caught By A Rainbow

The days in December have been dark, and wet. We haven’t had the inconvenience of ice and snow, and for this our commuting selves are grateful, but the absence of sunlight, of any kind of light, can get to you after a while, and leave you staring at the sky, and at the hour by hour weather forecasts, hoping for a break in the clouds.

I grabbed an hour or so the other week when the forecast looked auspicious, or passable at least, that fitted with the daylight hours, and other work and domestic plans. I had an hour, a whole hour, to head up the nearest hill, camera in hand, and breathe for a while.

As I climbed, you could see the break in the weather that I was enjoying. Although I was bathed momentarily in strong winter sunlight, across the other side of the river, huge dark clouds were looming, rolling and filling the skies.

A rainbow followed, cutting through the sky, arching across what sometimes feels like the whole of central Scotland from way up here, stretching out in front of you. I stood, transfixed by the rainbow straight ahead.

I have no picture to show you – I couldn’t catch it.

It caught me.

As I stood and watched, transfixed, a bird of prey flew across and stopped, and hovered.

For a few moments the sky was full.

For a few moments the sky and the world and the time were full.

There was nothing but this: the land stretched out ahead, the sleet showers looming, the arc of the rainbow, the hovering wings of a bird of prey.

And then the light changed, and the rainbow faded.

The bird flew on.

And in the aftermath I said a quiet thank you for the intensity of this moment, reflecting, picture-less, that this, this, is why I take photographs.

A Touch of Frost

The weather has been turning.

After weeks of gentle sunshine, autumn shook itself into winter with winds and rain.

Suddenly the trees are bare, silhouette gorgeous, and reminding me again how much I love the aesthetics of winter, if not the absence of light.

Yesterday we had a first scattering of snow, and the leaves and late flowers were touched at the edges with frost.

frost curling the edges of a purple flower

Out in the world, it’s hard not to feel like we’re in a winter season. Things can seem very dark.

It’s hard for any of us to make any sense of it. I don’t think there’s sense to be made of it.

It often feels discordant to keep focusing on beauty, on the soft loveliness of the world in the face of such harshness, such darkness, but also wrong to stop, and an affirmation of something important to keep saying otherwise.

purple flower fading in winter