November 14, 2010

Gossamer and Light

To quote Thoreau, yesterday was a "gossamer day." From every weed and floating seed, to every branchlet, grass and sedge, fine silken lines filled the air at Great Meadows. Thin, bouncing waves of light spun by tiny spiders that seem to skitter and blow from one anchor point to another. Says Thoreau, "Methinks it is only on these very finest days late in autumn that this phenomenon is seen, as if the fine vapor of the morning were spun into these webs." The Germans, he said, called this fall rite "Der fliegender Sommer", the flying or departing summer and he puzzled about why the spiders appeared to empty themselves just before winter's arrival.  Thanks to Alan Bragg for pointing me to Thoreau's Oct. 31, 1953 Journal entry.

In the midst of honoring darkness and the daily rush toward night, I'd forgotten how exquisite light becomes during the dark months of the year.  It's the angle or reflection of light that catches our attention now -- in the illumined roots and branches of the forest...

in a bright feather come to rest, in foxtail grass, or in the glow of the landscape whitened with the flocking of cattail seeds blowing and clinging everywhere.

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