One gets used to multiple horizon lines, gazing out to that distant line to the west, where the sky reaches down behind the mountains like a silken blanket. There are the foothills, layers of cityscape, residential sprawls, the river and everything else that seems to tuck up close. Autumn’s landscape often seems endless and forever-deep.
All of that can change. With the change of weather and atmosphere, perspective shifts. This morning when Max and I headed out for Frank’s Flats, it seemed the world was two-dimensional. White crystals in the air, mixed with foggy patches and a sky that was a warm white…all of this spilled over and covered those horizon lines that define and create depth. Driving, I became mostly captivated by a sense of texture and acutely aware of how close everything was to me. As I moved into the landscape, it seemed as though I was being swallowed up.
Out on the slopes, my perspective of things opened up again. While very small, in comparison to the larger landscape, this part of the world was like coming home and my breathing opened up. Max bounded down to the frozen pond with the same enthusiasm that I felt. Above us, flock after flock of geese called out to the cold air, arriving and then disappearing to the west and to the south. I was reminded again of Stanley Kunitz’s poem, End of Summer. It has been, for years, my September poem in the classroom. I miss some things about having my own classes.
I relished the time with Max in this earthy, frozen, sleeping landscape. I felt inspired to write a children’s story about how every winter, somehow the pond becomes spotted with heavy round rocks. I created a character who systematically places them there on the ice. Each spring the pond becomes more and more shallow until all at once, there is no pond water left, but a huge field of rounded stones.
When perspectives shift, we create and think creatively.
I returned home to hot coffee, Turkey a la King (add pimento, celery and onion to this recipe) on puffed pastry, and a dish of chocolate ice cream and suited myself up for my teaching duties.
I arrived to teach social studies a full hour early this afternoon, so I signed in and then headed for Fish Creek Park to the east. It was interesting being on the west side of the Bow River. My perspective and experience of the river is typically from the east side. While the air was biting by this time, I was in heaven. I felt alone. But, it wasn’t so.
There at the base of the ancient river elms, were three men, filming hair brushes. Yes. You read that correctly.
I carried on walking north along the river, for quite some time and then thought it best to head back.
Returning to my waiting car, I had opportunity to speak with one of the three men, a crew member for Bruce McCullock’s new work, Young Drunk Punk. I deliberately took time to look at his props. We spoke, as we walked along, about our own father’s hair brushes and the lasting scent of Brylcreem. We talked about black pocket combs and all of the nostalgia associated with these objects. I explained that from a distance I had imagined that the three of them were releasing a beaver and photographing the event. When we parted, one of us said, “Go home and check your hair brushes.” The other said, “Beware of the beaver.” How fun was that? What perspective we gain by putting ourselves into the world and making observations. One never knows.