20 September 2010

"Dancing the golden sunlight..."

Aspen Leaf, Magdalena Mtns., NM, Sept. 2010
"The wind-blown leaves turn
Dancing the golden sunlight
across the tired floor."
- Matt Dimmic

From town, no yellow tinge in the aspens is yet visible in the Magdalena Mountains looming to our south, and as I ascended the tortuous road toward South Baldy yesterday I saw no hint of gold until I reached 10,000 feet. Even there only the occasional aspen is beginning to change, yet as a few golden leaves drifted down to the forest floor during our hike on the North Baldy trail I sensed summer slipping away. Autumn in New Mexico is especially exquisite, with almost cobalt skies, brilliant backlighting and deepening shadows as the sun descends toward its winter basin. As beautiful as it is, I always feel torn between awe and ache. D.H. Lawrence expressed the latter perfectly for me:

"The autumn always gets me badly, as it breaks into colours. I want to go south, where there is no autumn, where the cold doesn't crouch over one like a snow-leopard waiting to pounce." (D.H. Lawrence, Letters)

This year I needn't dread winter quite so much; thanks to new windows and a central heating system I won't need to wear several wool sweaters and a hat inside my own home, and Dad and I will soon be heading out to bring in wood for a fireplace that will finally be more for warmth of feeling than (inadequate) heating. I will also try to take a new perspective both generally and through my photography, perhaps not as enthusiastically as the following but at least trying to see things differently:

"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." (Andrew Wyeth)

It's worth a try, anyway... not like we have a choice, right?


Steve Bodio said...

"I love to see, when leaves depart,
The clear anatomy arrive,
Winter, the paragon of art,
That kills all form of life and feeling
Save what is pure and will survive.

"Already now the clanging chains
Of geese are harnessed to the moon..."

- Roy Campbell, a more obscure English poet than Lawrence...

One of my two favorite fall poems.

Anna Lear said...

Thank you for posting this poem, Steve; it's one of my favorites, too, but I could only remember fragments of it ("the clear anatomy" is such a concise and apt description of winter) and couldn't think of the author's name. This poem offers great photographic inspiration...

Steve Bodio said...

Send an email or stop by home or see Lib at the PO, and I'll copy the whole (short) thing--& maybe the other too...

Or maybe dig them up for my blog?

Steve Bodio said...

Update: up here.

Steve Bodio said...

Anna-- check this out: a "Southern Rockies" take on October Dawn, in photos, by my stepson Jackson.