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Up Country. February 26, 2011

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Trucks sleep up in the fields of Shelburne after the last big storm:

Cattle daydreaming about green grass in Hawley:

A workhorse grown coarse and shaggy for the season:

…while in the valley below, Salmon Falls saves itself for Spring:

It’s a little farther along down in the flat-lands of Franklin County, but even here there’s a change in the air, a feeling that Winter is dying as Spring struggles to be born.

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Meanwhile, Up River… December 12, 2010

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Saturday turned into a pretty nice day, with thin clouds interspersed with breaks of sun.  I left my sunrise shoot in Shelburne Falls and headed up river to enjoy the nascent winter scenery.

The Chickley river in West Charlemont was looking pristine, with its ice hummocks steeped in deep-green waters:

Its tributaries, cascading over ledge drops, built ice castles along the way:

I really dig the forms ice takes as streams plunge and burble their way toward the sea.

We have a lot of that around here, with our abundance of topographical relief, and our innumerable rivers and streams.  Be patient with me, as I’m in love with this stuff and bound to get repetitive as the winter rolls on.

Rivers. October 19, 2009

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Rivers in autumn.  Dark, mysterious, wreathed in color, heavy with the sweet scent of decay, with tannic swirls along their descending paths to the sea.

The Chickley in Charlemont:

chickley

…and farther up in Hawley, my former neighbor to the south:

chickley road

The South River in my new home, Conway, sulking its way down valley on a dark day:

south river

The Cold in Florida, shrouded in morning mist:

cold

…And at their mouths, collecting them, shepherding them to the sea, the Connecticut, here looking down river into Hadley, where the college crew teams practice:

conn crew

…and there looking up river into Montague, placid, swirling to a slow beat:

conn montague

Water of life, rivers of time, inescapable and precious.

Long may they flow.

More Signs Of Spring. April 10, 2009

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The fabled season of rebirth is being elusive here in the Berkshires; a steady diet of cold, damp, foggy weather has been punctuated by bright days and the first wildflowers.

Here are a few shots from this past week.

A foggy dawn on the Chickley River:

fog on the chickley

Colt’s foot, with its lush flowers and strangely leafless stems, sprouts in the gravel at roadside:

colts foot at catamount

Water fowl cruise the beaches and sand bars of the Deerfield:

goose

The sheep have been shorn:

shorn sheep

…And love is in the air.  A wild tom turkey struts like a tipsy frat boy for an obviously disinterested hen:

tom turkey

…while a local Scottish Highland bull does, well, what bulls do:

randy gets some

Notice how impressed his date is.

Anyway, it’s coming, I mean, “imminent.”  And I’m talkin’ about Spring!

Closer To Home. April 7, 2009

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It’s been a mixture of nice Spring weather and gnarly, bone-chilling days here this past week.  “Nice weather for ducks,” you might say:

mallard and mate

A mallard and his very well camouflaged mate endure a steady rain with aplomb.

All this rain has the rivers rippin’:

Shelburne Falls damscape

…and the pastures beginning to green up:

oak tree

…which, of course pleases even the most discerning of grazers:

horse's eye

The maple buds are popping just as the moon is waxing:

moon over maples

I’m hoping for some nice skies as the full moon approaches – it’s been a couple of monthe since the weather cooperated with that!

Water, Water Everywhere. August 15, 2008

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It won’t stop raining.

Sporadic sprinkles, hourly showers, daily deluges.

My garden is suffering; the tomatoes are blighted, the basil is languishing. Even the sunflowers weep for lack of their namesake.

But the rivers – Ah, The Rivers! They swell with pride, roiling with an unseasonal urgency:

Hurling themselves headlong over precipitous drops,

Circling their wagons in tannic tantrums, pausing in their seaward rush for only a turn or two,

then gone down the valley, bound for the ocean, bound for the sky, bound to return again before the season’s over.

I’m not complaining about my garden; there’s a purpose greater than me, and if my tomatoes don’t win prizes, so be it. The grass is green, the corn is high, and in general, my small corner of the world is faring pretty well.

Thank you Mother Earth. Thank you, Father Sky.

After The Rain February 13, 2008

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After a pre-dawn episode of one-armed scraping and shoveling in a driving sleet storm;

After a long, wet day of working on setting up a new bridge job in the pouring rain;

After a slow, harrowing drive down a rural highway to “the big city;”

After a relatively painful but productive session of PT;

I made it up to the High Country just as the insistent rains broke, just as the mists rose from the roiling river, just as the evening light came through a thinning of the clouds, just in time for this:

after-the-rain.jpg

This place is like a salve on my soul; it always gives me a reason to rejoice.

Namaste.