Tuesday, February 07, 2006

grey



At this point in the midwestern winter it's difficult to conjure up a creative molecule, much less any creative juice. It's hard to remember why you choose to live in this place. So hard to remember the rows of corn the color of emeralds.

It's grey. Day upon day of grey. Overcast skies, heavily laden with the hue, smothering any color that might be impertinent enough to break through. It muddies landscape and erases the edges, everything puddling together

The book that Pablo suggested arrived in the mail today - "Giants in the Earth", by O.E. Rolvaag. It is promised to be a tale of Norwegian settlers gone mad on the prairie. I can read along as my mind deteriorates steadily in a soup of grey. The book was only a penny and a couple bucks for shipping. It's a paperback and the pages are aged as if the book had been steeped in a vat of strong tea.

Outside grey. More shades of grey than you ever knew existed. I list them in my head and soon I feel like I'm reciting the midwestern version of Forrest Gumps shrimp soliloquy.....

Grey the color of steel, squirrel pelts, mercury, an old felt hat, nickels worn with age, West Point cadet grey, glazed pottery, grey tinged with brown, stainless steel - no, that's refreshingly shiny. Grey the color of dull headaches. Grey upon grey, piled up in suffocating layers like heavy wool, making it difficult to breathe or even think. And so it goes.

Perhaps delving into the book about settlers gone mad will calm my soul. At last, someone worse off than me.

12 comments:

pablo said...

What have I done? What have I done?

mark said...

You have captured perfectly how I feel about those late February-early March midwestern grey winter days!

carrie said...

I have really been enjoying your blog. Your photographs are inspiring.

I hope you enjoy Giants in the Earth. I had to read it in college (required reading at a Norwegian Lutheran college :)). I really enjoyed it and still have my copy so I can read it again some day.

srp said...

The gray of your days occasionally gives way to sunshine and then the absolute blue of the sky in contrast to the brown prairie dotted with snow is amazing. And it looks like there might me a little snow coming down in that picture. Here the kids would scream for joy for a day like this with snow.

srp said...

The gray of your days occasionally gives way to sunshine and then the absolute blue of the sky in contrast to the brown prairie dotted with snow is amazing. And it looks like there might me a little snow coming down in that picture. Here the kids would scream for joy for a day like this with snow.

Melissa said...

Oh yes...We have the same here in the NW...day upon day of gray. The sun actually came out on Sunday, and it was almost too much. I think I got sunburned.

Rachel said...

Those grey days are great for book reading, and there's always someone worse off than we are.

Tim Rice said...

Gray does get overwhelming at times. In part, that's why I posted some spring or summer scenes on my blog recently - to cheer me up and remind me that it won't stay this way.

By the way, I loved the way you wrote about the grayness you are experiencing. You found a way to speak elequently about the grayness even in the midst of the dreariness of it.

I Gallop On said...

The way you describe the grey is simply stunning. I'm in New Mexico, land of perpetual sunshine. Bright blue sky and dry as a bone. We're already worrying about the forest fires this spring and summer. I sure would like a week or so of grey, lovely, wet rain. But as someone who grew up in rural Ohio near Lake Erie where we didn't see the sun for months at a time, I am well acquainted with grey and can appreciate your pain!

Ron said...

You need a visit from a poorly decorated motorhome to cheer you up

Lynne said...

I love your description of the grey days -- in fact, will be copying it into my art journal -- it so perfectly captures the Midwestern landscape in which we live...

But the thing that I love about living in the Midwest is that all of these grey days are almost like "permission" to step back a bit. To read, to sew, to plan Spring's gardens, to make art... It's a time to rest our souls... and that's the part that I love about it.

What I also love is those first warm, sunny days of Spring -- when everyone around is literally bursting at the seams with JOY... you know what I'm talking about -- I know you do. It's like everyone gets such a total rush out of the change of seasons... from the long, grey winter to the promise of Spring... and I just think that's one of the coolest things.

So thank you for the beautiful words about the greyness of the Illinois landscape -- you've given so much depth and dignity to the world around us. I love that.

Zanne said...

Thanks to all for your generous comments. I am glad to know that my photos and words can convey the sense of space. The wonderful vastness that is the American midwest.