Friday, May 08, 2009

Allegheny Springs

images from Allegheny State Park, western New York state

I'm setting out in mid-spring, sometimes late spring or early depending where you find yourself. As I travel north and east, the line of spring moves with me. Every day I see the same kinds of trees at the same stages of leafing out, budding, or flowering. I see the same glorious bursts of color from the flowering shrubs, trees, and wildflowers, eye-catchingly vivid colors against the drab background of the yet winter-dormant, unawakened world. By traveling north and east, following the line of spring as it advances north, I sustain the early spring for longer than it will last at any one location. All the way to Maine, the trees stay the same as I go: just at that stage of greening where the buds are about to burst open to reveal their young leaves, but not quite yet. The pale spring greens and yellow-greens sustain themselves, suspended in time before darkening into emerald summer leaf hues. The young buds on the trees in the wild forests of the land, that I choose to pass through, have mists of color painted on their aspects, as some trees bud pale green, others bud burgundy, still others bud greenish-gray, all against the backdrop of the brown earth, the grey lichen of granite boulders and slate outcrops, the black and white brushstrokes of the bar tree limbs, stands, and trunks. As if an impressionist watercolor could be lightly layered over the winter landscape, hinting at the summer to come, inviting hope that these cold grey rainy cloudy days will eventually pass, warming your bones and your soul as well as your skin. But not yet, not yet. The trail of color leads me on, without changing much, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

And here, all too near the roadway through this large and lovely state park, by the time I see the third beaver lodge and beaver dam, I pull over to greet these builders as a fellow maker, and make portraits of their engineering marvels.

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