November Sunrise

This morning, Jared spotted the beginnings of a beautiful sunrise. I rushed for my camera, and I thought you might like to see what I captured.

This October was difficult, but November has been better, in no small part because there’s a special beauty in the light now. I was hungry for beauty, and now it comes in my windows. Sure, the sun goes down early, and you have to get used to that. But it’s a small price to pay for the hours of light show.

There are many ways to find beauty where I am.

I’ve been especially inspired lately by the recent work of Kate Davies husband, Tom Barr (I forgot his last name and rather wanted to call him Tom Davies, a la Rory Pond! But of course he has his own name). He’s a photographer of skills far beyond my ken, and for the last while he’s been doing these abstract pictures of landscapes you can see on his site, Ootlier.

At first I was confused; the abstractions meant very little to me. I am used to stuff in my pictures, things to look at. But, as he explained (in a post I can’t seem to find, sorry), these are landscape pictures that have all the stuff stripped away. You’re left with the impression of a place, the spirit, the feeling of being there. The quality of light, the space.

It’s made me much more aware of how the beauty of the views I have immediate access to is defined by lines – most of all by the horizon. There often isn’t much to look at, and even with a telephoto lens I can’t see much of the mountains across the bay. But now I see more the interest in the shifting layers of cloud, the changing colors of the water, even the eerie qualities of manmade additions like lights and chimney steam.

I can’t do whatever Tom does to get his landscapes, but I can step back and feel the effect of a view rather than squinting to see something interesting in it.

In reading Kate’s work on Shetland and the Scottish Highlands, and watching the Shetland show as well, it’s tempting to wish I was there. Very tempting.

But in fact, there’s probably a lot in common between that northern locale and this one. On Shetland there are very few trees and lots of wind. There’s peat and heather. They have the same types of flowers in different varieties. They have long light and long dark. They have an incredible tradition of crafting, but probably also the struggles of any isolated rural community. The pictures we see are of the beautiful days, and the weather may be a bit warmer, but it’s plenty inclement.

And of course I want to start knitting Kate’s designs immediately. But I’ve realized that what makes her work so powerful, and that of other designers I admire so much, is that they are so deeply invested in the place where they are. She is planted, and then she digs more.

That’s the inspiration: not to visit where somewhere else is, but to dig more into where I am. Even – perhaps especially – on the grey days.

I’ll leave you with today’s sunset. It’s a good day today.


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