The title of a movie I like came repeatedly to mind during a recent stretch of sunny weather: Everything Is Illuminated. Indeed, it was. Bright sunshine flooding our forest, combined with the seasonally rapid increase in the amount of daylight each day, cast a glow over our landscape that became positively disorienting. Repeatedly, during the period, I became “lost” in the forest, unable to recognize my surroundings, even as I followed known landmarks on a well-used trail.
Quality of light has a major impact on our view. Subtle shifts in light can change a vista in significant ways. Close at hand, this leads to rather comical conversations on the trail, as one or the other of us asks such inane questions as: “Has this rock always been here?” The familiar becomes alien in slightly different light. We often find ourselves lingering along the trail to stare about us, watching as new features become highlighted, while others fade into the background. This is why we have so many photos of The Mountain with No Name across the fjord. It changes dramatically as the day’s light moves across it.
As I followed a neighbor’s trail home from the bay, I thought about this as I alternated between admiring the sunlit forest and staring at it distrustfully. I considered taking a photograph to accompany a blog post much like this one, but then I realized it would have no significance for anyone who isn’t here, who doesn’t use these trails as we do. Such a one would have no sense of the change that I see as I make my way through the comfortably familiar, made slightly uncomfortable by a different light.
You will find a version of the essay above, as well as writing on similar and related topics in the ebook, Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s” Paradigm by Mark A. Zeiger. The ebook version will likely be expanded, clarified, or updated from what you have just read.