twenty

You will note that this advent calendar is turning out to have a determinedly snowy theme. Behind today’s door are some images from our lovely weekend away in the woods and hills. I do enjoy the snow — both for walking, and for photographing. I love its eerie quietness; its crazy, sculptural qualities; the incredible things it can do to the light. When you look at a snowy place from a distance, it seems almost felted, softened, somehow — its sharp edges smoothed away — as if the landscape were sleeping, or at rest. Close up, though, you see that the landscape isn’t sleeping at all, but rather that it has assumed a new outlandish, wintry form. The snow effects a total transformation as it covers the landscape, enacting its own playful metamorphoses. I like the way that it gave each reed its own little hat . . .

. . . and made these grasses shimmer with their own delicate sort of bling . . .

. . . these seed husks bend and tremble under a snowflake frosting . . .

. . . and the shape of these new buds is mirrored in the snow droplets beneath them. . .

I spent a long time with the underside of this fallen tree.

It is a bare, dead thing — but the snow makes it marvellous, makes it more than itself. . .

Snow, of course, is treacherous as well as beautiful, and I hope all is very well with those of you on the other side of the Atlantic, for whom snow has meant severe storms, punishing temperatures, and terrible disruption over the past couple of days.

To close this snowy post, here is a West Highland forest in the act of transformation.