Cottonwood Winter




There is something magnificent about a winter storm. First comes the quiet that precedes the storm. The normally busy world slowly, but surely, calms down until nothing is stirring. The quiet is unlike any other quiet, and its peace is calming. Then comes the fury of the storm itself. Perhaps the winds are howling and the snowflakes are horizontal. Perhaps the snow comes straight down, thick flakes blanketing and engulfing the ground. Perhaps it is a more gentle storm, but one that over time delivers a signifiant amount of snow.

Whatever the storm actually delivers the sun will eventually find a way back out, once again lighting up the world around it, and once again bringing the world back to life.

This after-the-storm scene was made near the Quarai Pueblo in the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument in central New Mexico. The cottonwood easily rode out the storm, just as it has countless times in its long life. This day, however, the sun bathed the landscape in the warm, rich hues of late afternoon. The still-dark skies behind provided a counterpoint to the light, completing the photograph for me.

Cottonwood Winter might be made on a cold winter’s day, but it sure does warm my heart.

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