Friday, November 26, 2010
Sunshine after Dusk
Looking up, just after sundown, I see gold in the tree tops. I'm mystified and mesmerized. How does the sun, which has dipped below the horizon reach the tops of the trees?
Looking up, I invent theories of reflection and refraction, sundogs and high altitude ice particles, anything to explain the strange phenomena of sunlight shining high in the trees after sundown. The moon is up, cold and white. Could it be moonlight?
I finish my walk, in darkness. Both the ordinary kind and the knowledge kind, my question remains unanswered.
On the weekend, I recall the tamaracks that grow in the forest. They flourish in a plantation in the North Tract, York Regional Forest. I don't often walk the North Tract; it is a relatively 'new' forest, and too much of it covered by obvious row-planted trees. It has life, but lacks aesthetics, but this is the place to go if you wish to see the autumn glory of the tamarack. I thought of it a little late, spending all October visiting Uxbridge's Glen Major Tract and enjoying the colours of the mixed maple woodlands. It's late in the season and it may be too late, but suddenly it all seems very urgent.
I drag my husband along. He his willing to the adventure, but time is limited, as he has tickets for the evening. I promise him a direct route through the woods, as I know exactly where that stand of tamarack lies. And while this is true, I quickly realize that I don't know the path. I make choices that begin in the right direction and veer repeatedly away from the destination. This happens with each path I take, and while there are plenty of side trails leading away from my destination, none seem willing to take me there. I realize the origin of the enchanted forest archetype, and the living trees that move and reshape the trails to entangle visitors and leave them lost and wandering forever.
Well, it's not quite that bad, afterall, I am here, returned to write this post. Eventually, I found a trail the cut in the right direction, and quickly veered away again, and another trail, the cut in the right direction and then meandered dog style in a convoluted serpentine that eventually led us directly beneath a stately tamarack, still brilliant shining gold.
Looking up, my husband (not known for poetic flights of fancy) said, "It's just like sunshine". Looking up I thought so too.
The next time I walked in the woods after dusk, I looked up and saw the golden tops of trees shining amidst the gloom and finally made the connection. The 'sunlight' I perceived in the tree tops was nothing more nor less then the autumn gold of the tamaracks still gleaming in the dusk.
I haven't been able to get the tamaracks out of my mind since, and so far am working on my third painting of tamaracks.
And as a brief synopsys of our adventure, we didn't get out of the woods quite on time, had hustle, really hustle back to the car, but my husband was so thrilled the phenomenon of the tamaracks that he didn't mind at all.
Watercolours are 9"x12"; I have a new batch of masking frisket, and have put it to good use. I don't think I want to be without it again.