Tuesday, September 24, 2013

9.24.13 ~ that old september feeling: recalling autumn, on the edge of baldy

 ...that old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air ... Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.  ~ Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

I'm writing this from a cove of the Rocky Mountains, where heavy frost tamps down the first of the falling aspen leaves. Woodsmoke cuts the early morning pine-smell, and the highest ridges glow brilliant with sunlight reflecting snow crystals. Most of the leaves on the trees close to this cabin are yet green, but I suspect more yellow will be on our path this afternoon when we walk through the gathering light.

A couple years ago about this time of year I found myself hiking on the edge of Baldy Mountain in Colfax County, New Mexico. Last autumn I tried to capture a view of that hike here, in a "traditional" oil rendering (below). Then, earlier this year I revisited the scene, reconsidering it with words and washes of color and paint and thought and memory.
Once again — as with so many of my other mixed media landscapes this year — the words — Listen to the wild — calling you — soul to silence — are fragments of Robert Service's poem, the Call of the Wild.


Washes of rust and ghostly pale blue for me suggest the passage of time, the fading of memory.

But some passages are clear and vibrant, beckoning.

 Here's the "traditional" view:


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