October 29, 2013

The Light in the Morning

In the waning days of October, before last weekend's frost changed everything, there were mornings when the light stopped me in my tracks.

The rays were so specific, lighting up just a tree or a clump of irises, and catching each falling leaf in suspension.

It was startling how bright the colors were as the autumn light was getting lower and lower each morning.

The blueberries gave me such pleasure this summer with bowls of blueberries for my breakfast. Now, long past bearing, they were lit up by the early sun.

'Gro Low' sumac caught fire below a witch hazel as the sun came around the corner of the house.

White reblooming clematis was focused in a shaft of sunlight right outside the kitchen window.

It took me a while to get the coffee made on those mornings. I was too taken with staring out the window at the light.

The first morning that we got a hard frost, the air above was cold too. Contrails streaked across the sky. There were three more V shaped rays just to the right of this shot, but they were exploding directly out of the rising sun and my camera couldn't take the picture, nor could my eyes comprehend what I was seeing. I thought the sky was starting to crack open.
There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.

The strange, focused light in the morning is different now that frost has announced winter's intentions.  There has been a shift, and the season moves on.
 

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in.

40 comments:

  1. Beautiful post and beautiful writing.

    I love the colors on the Gro-Low Sumac but I'm afraid to add something else to the garden that will be bare throughout the cold, grey winters... How do you deal with that?

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    1. Aaron, I have lots of evergreens planted in my garden, so the bare stems of woody shrubs & trees are not a problem. In spring Gro-Lo is late to emerge, and I have alliums that stick up and bloom through them, then the dying onion foliage gets hidden by the emerging sumac leaves.

      For an evergreen woody ground cover you might like kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi). You could intermix the Gro-Lo sumac with the kinnikinnik and that way there would be greenery among the bareness. And when the sumac turns red in fall it would be nice with the glossy evergreen of the kinnikinnik. Hmmm, I might try that combination.
      http://laurrie-s.blogspot.com/2010/11/arctostaphylos-uva-ursi-kinnikinnik.html

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    2. * "Gro-Low", not gro-lo. I hate these truncated brand names.

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  2. What a wonderful poem, Laurrie, and a delightfully thoughtful post. The light hitting certain parts of the garden, for less than a minute sometimes, keeps us watching, not wanting to miss a moment of the magic.

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    1. Frances, the verse is from Leonard Cohen's song. I've always liked those lines, although the song is political and the lines mean something different in the song Those moments of magic in the garden, in any season, do keep us watching.

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  3. You have beautifully expressed some of the many reasons why I love fall. The color, the light the feel of a fall morning.

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    1. Lisa, yes, the light and the feel are almost more stunning than the actual riot of colors in autumn!

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  4. That verse is so pretty Laurrie! The way you described the light touching and lighting up areas of your garden was magnificent. It has become an exciting treat for me to read your posts and to see your garden. The depth in your garden is like no other. I have yet to grow "Gro Low" sumac but I really think that I need to after your post. It is in these details that your garden feels so full and layered! Beautiful!

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    1. Nicole, thanks so much -- I'm glad to have inspired you! And I hope you do add Gro-Low sumac to your garden, it's a really beautiful low shrub.

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  5. I love how the autumn light will somehow shine on one thing, as if to spotlight it. You have captured the light well, and that is a hard thing. Such beautiful autumn images.

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    1. Holley, that's the key thing about autumn light -- it seems to highlight just one thing in a column of sunshine.

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  6. Stunning photos, Laurrie! I think the morning as the start of the day is wonderful time. Though we have dim time at the morning your pictures remind me early fall day here with bright sun light in leaves.

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    1. Nadezda, I like morning in all seasons, it's the best time of day!

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    1. Lyn, thanks. You are just enjoying the spring delights in your own garden, and we are in full fall mode here, and both are beautiful seasons.

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  8. Every time I see evocative images like yours, every time I see morning light comparable to yours, I wonder what it must be like to sleep late, missing it all. Luxurious to some, I suppose. Deprivation to me.

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    1. Lee, thinking of you, a transplant from New England, missing our fall colors this year. I wonder how the Japanese maples in your old garden are doing? This year has been great for color, not quite like 2010, but close.

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    2. Ahhh, 2010 was indeed the year of years for my Japanese maples in Connecticut. I expect a report from former neighbors any day on my former maples.

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  9. I love the light in October here, it gives me a whole new way of looking at the garden: I see structure, color, shapes, that during the summer simply weren't immediately visible.
    That sumac is lovely, any idea on how it might handle a hedgerow edge?

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    1. Acair Fearann, the sumac is Rhus aromatic 'Gro-Low' and it is pretty tough. I think it could handle any situation. It wants sun and dry soil, will take rocky poor soil. I have mine in some shade under trees and they do fine. They are late to leaf out in spring, but otherwise are really nice, glossy-leaved woody ground covers all season. And red in fall! Your hedgerow edge would be a great place for it.

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  10. There is something magical in fall light and changing angles. For a brief period a month or so ago, the sun was coming up at just the right angle and time so that when I was upstairs in the bathroom brushing my teeth before leaving for work, it looked like headlights were illuminating a certain spot on the fence at the end of my street. In 18 years of living in this house, I'd never noticed it before.

    No hard frost here yet-just a light dusting that wiped out much of the coleus but not much else. Bananas in November are not usually the norm here but I'm not complaining.

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    1. Sue, light does such strange things to the landscapes we think we know so well! It really laters what we see.

      I'm surprised you haven't been zapped by frost yet. Just a few miles north of you, I had three consecutive nights of frost, and the annuals and hydrangeas went kaput. It only got to 31 degrees, but it was all night long and that did them in.

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  11. A Leonard Cohen fan ! I knew there was a reason I liked you :) The fall colours in your garden are breathaking and it all looks beautiful. Hallelujah.

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    1. Patty, At last, someone who recognized the lines -- Hallelujah indeed : )

      I knew it would take my Canadian readers to relate.

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  12. I love everything about this post. You are such a wonderful writer.

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  13. Great post and beautiful pictures to illustrate. You are so right, the light over the last few weeks has been incredible. It just picks up the fall colours and makes them shine.

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    1. Marguerite, Thanks. There is nothing like fall light highlighting the fabulous colors.

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  14. What a great line - the sky is cracking. It sure looks that way. Beautiful photos and beautiful language. I loved it.

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    1. Sarah, the line is from Leonard Cohen, but the sky really did look like it was cracking open that morning!

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  15. Sunlight is always soft and mellow at this time of year. I especially like the first picture where the clump of irises are illuminated.
    We have had such mild weather here fall color has been slow to appear. Finally this week the big maple at the back is turning yellow.

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    1. Jennifer, I do love the light at this time of year. Our big maples are just turning red now, but all the glorious color will be over too soon now that November is upon us.

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  16. I love these crisp fall mornings, too, when the light seems so much softer than the glare of summer. Who needs coffee when you have these beautiful sights to wake to?!

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    1. Rose, I agree! The light is so soft and beautiful at this time.

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  17. I have been fixated on the autumn light and boy is your foliage gorgeous Laurrie.

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    1. Donna, me too -- the autumn light just makes me stop and stand there for long moments!

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  18. Laurrie, I love the little poem at the end! Your morning light is amazing, and so is the garden through which it sheds magic. We haven't had frost yet, and our autumn foliage hasn't quite peaked but is headed that way quickly. I will miss the fabulous colors!

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    1. Deb, I just read your latest post on Lou raking leaves, and I have to say you have as much color there as anything up here. Beautiful autumn all over.

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  19. So beautiful! Your shrub border and trees work so well with all that incredible light. Just gorgeous. I'd probably be late for work every morning if I had that much light available before I leave. :o)

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    1. Tammy, Mornings are the best around here, and since I don't have to hurry off to work any more, it's even better : )

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