Monday 13 February 2017

Wilderness of White

The Snowflake
By Walter de la Mare, English Poet, 1873-1956

Before I melt,
Come, look at me!
The lovely icy filigree!
Of a great forest
In one night
I make a wilderness
Of white:
By skyey cold
Of crystals made,
All softy, on
Your finger laid.
I pause, that you
My beauty see:
Breathe, and I vanish

Last week, an artist friend loaned me a German book, translated into English, Winter Journeys: Coloured Shadows. Published in Munich in 2001 by the German bank HypoVereinsbank, the book features an exquisite collection of photos and poetry on the theme of winter. That’s where I found Walter de la Mare’s 1929 poem “The Snowflake.” As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, winter is not my favourite season. However, the photos and poetry in this book make a convincing case for the joys and beauty of winter. Of particular interest for me were the vintage black and white photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Stieglitz, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Herbert List and many other 19th and 20th century photographers, many of whom are new discoveries for me. What a pleasure it was to inhale this inspirational book.

And inspire me, it did.

Yesterday, we had a substantial snow fall – the kind of day where you snuggle inside and let the weather howl away outside. Except…this time, I wanted to go outside during the storm with a camera, but not my beautiful Canon 70D, so I designated my modest five-year-old Canon SX30iS as my ‘bad weather camera’, one that I can take outside in snow, rain, hail, and locusts without fear of damage.

I was surprised at how much freedom it gave me, not having to fuss about my camera. Instead, I could be open to the serendipity and unexpected visual joys of the snow storm. It was strangely liberating and great fun to boot!

I hope these photos, all recorded within a few blocks of our Belleville home, give you a sense of the beauty I experienced on my walk. I can’t wait to take my ‘bad weather camera’ out for future walks in rain, hail, and locusts!


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  1. My compliments on your always careful observation and meticulous recording, Larry...and on the intrepidity that led you out into all that snow! Or do we just blame Edna?

    1. Thanks for the feedback. And, yes, blame Edna!