A Whole Lotta Water

I tried my hand at drawing and then watercolor yesterday in an attempt to capture the sparse beauty of these woods. The thin, almost fragile, trees stand far apart without a lot of scrub or underbrush. The floor as far as the eye can see is carpeted in small twigs, rotting leaves, and a smattering of ivy or other small greenery. Though they look open and walkable, the woods are not truly inviting because the branches begin at roughly shoulder height, with many dead, stiff, contorted limbs at precisely the level to slap your face, scrape or poke an eye. For the most part, the trees look dead, though I’m hoping that they simply have not yet leafed out here at this altitude even as spring progresses. Where there is growth, it is a fresh almost edible chlorophyl-enriched chartreuse yellow green.

This morning a fog hangs close, settling almost to the feet of the trees and reaching toward the cabin steps. Everything is shaded toward gray except in the swath cut for the power poles that stretches to the road. The woods are brighter there but still far from sunny. Perhaps that bit of clearing explains the oddly ricocheted rumble and grind of traffic coming from the highway below. Only the twisted rhododendrons and the snaking branches stripe wet black against the pale light, a natural pen and ink sketch.

The fog retreats, lifting and withdrawing as if running away from the rising noises of day. Now and again, a solitary limb bounces, perhaps in response to a falling drop of water bouncing on or releasing from its length. After four days of hard rain, the woods are sodden, the stream leaping and growling in its new strength and speed, and the roads are starting to flood, according to a neighbor who maintains these properties. He stopped by to make certain the new roof shakes are holding and to let me know “there’s a whole lotta water down ‘ere in town and most of them roads’ll be closed off for a good while.”

June 1, 2010

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