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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Last Year's Tree

We drove the same long, diagonal two-lane road this year that we traveled last year, and, once again, the prairie's dominant daytime colors were dun, brown, and black. Not a cloud in the sky. And this year no sparkling frost. But once again, after the sun went down below the horizon, the prairie played its ace in the hole, silhouettes, and I recognized several individual trees along the way from last year -- and so, searched out this old photo, as I was at the wheel yesterday and could not be driver and photographer simultaneously. Imagine the tree drawn in blackest ink, every branch faithfully reproduced and presented against a surreal watercolor sky whose rainbow hues fade imperceptibly and seamlessly into one another. I called last year's Books in Northport post "Its Own Kind of Beauty." Other than trees, the prairie offers stark groupings of farm buildings, clean geometrical shapes connected by elaborate systems of chutes and pipes. Farmhouses themselves are often surrounded by sheltering evergreens planted long ago. But it is the lone trees along the highway that speak to me most clearly of beauty, and "I think that I have never seen" a tree until I see it against the evening prairie sky.

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