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Monday Photo Meditation: The Land Belongs to the Light

The day is bright, sky mostly clear, a lively breeze rippling through the drying leaves . . . and a smoky gray haze is turning the golden light to silver now.

Fall is supposed to be a time of near-perfect clarity here, one of sharp angles and lowering sun, of long shadows scribing the earth beneath winds as light and as sharp as a scalpel’s blade.

Yes, yes, I know the outer world’s calendars insist that fall does not arrive for nine days yet, but we have other, older, more accurate ways of reckoning time. Soon climate change will force the rest of the world to be reckoning it differently, too, seeing equinoxes as the midpoint they have now become rather than any sort of beginning.

After all, some of our leaves begin turning before we see June’s end now.

Today’s image, long one of my personal favorites, is one Wings shot on an afternoon closer to October’s end — a day’s end, too, at autumn’s heart nine years ago, if memory serves. Back then, the ravages of climate change were already evident in real time, but we still had hope for norms now long gone.

Nearing the mid-point of September, and while the days seem suddenly to be shortening remarkably fast, any hint of snow on the peaks seems impossibly far away still.

But while the light grows shorter, the shadows lengthen; they redraw the lines of the line and refocus our eyes, showing us things we cannot see at other times of year, hidden as they are in plain sight.

Autumn is itself a threshold season, the Earth’s own way of counting down to a new year, to the birth and rebirth of winter. Time grows now as short as the light, but the shadows teach us not to fear the dark. At dawn and dusk, they cast their images long upon the land, focusing us on the way of the sun. They show us where to go and the most direct route to get there, reminding us that we belong to the land, and at any and every season, the land belongs to the light.

~ Aji








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