Bucolic still life
Winter arrives to the Catskills, every year an unannounced guest. Come late October, the cold intrudes on the trees, forcing a retreat imperceptible when their leaves are still ablaze in the flaming light of Indian summer. Overnight, the mountainscape becomes encased in ice, disallowing its residents life’s simple pleasures. These spring sounds, to those of us who were not reared in these parts, are all this land has left to offer: a breeze echoing in the unforeseeable distance. Damp earth after rain. The sound of river water.
For a writer, as I am, the silence, punctuated as it is by these sounds, is instructive. As it emerges from its winter dormancy, the mountain arranges a song, moved by the urgency survival requires. No howl bellows from its mouth that is not orchestrated by the precision of predatory deliberation. This economy of meaning is what we aspire to in our use of language. Organized, as we are, on this same boundary between life and death, symbolic construction is likewise dictated by it.