Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ministries of Frost



PHOTOGRAPHER'S DIARY:
My final shoot at North Meadow before it was
mowed down, was early morning, October 31, 2005.
Shards of glass distilled from dew
touching spiky seedheads to whiteness,
and the ground crunched as I walked.
The air was crystal crisp; it froze my breath
so that I had to keep wiping the camera back to see
the images as I shot, and fingers stinging, numb. It was
my first lesson in the ways of cold-weather shooting.

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE:
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw ; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

2 comments:

Andrée said...

Even though the field is dying back, it is lush and rich. There is so much food there for the life in it. I was thinking all winter that there should be gloves available with no finger tips, or with finger tips that can be folded back. I never did look for any though. I can handle the cold just fine: it's the fingers that can't! But I loved it while I did it and I'll do it again. You're introducing me to new poets!

Ted Roth said...

From the sublime (Coleridge) to the ridiculous (frozen fingertips):

When at his best as in especially the last three lines here, there is no poet I love more than Coleridge.

PRESCRIPTION: My current best solution to preserving sensation in the all-important opposing digits of both hands - and I shoot manually - is...
(STEP ONE) buy a pair of cheap work gloves. I like soft fabric - I'm not building stone walls. Slit open the thumb and index fingers of both gloves. The finger-tips will flip back like a hood hinged at the base of the fingernail. (STEP TWO) Buy a pair of silk glove liners. When the weather is cold this will be important where the gloves leak.

What a silly lesson to offer on the day that the first blush of leafing has spread across areas of hillside!