New England Blood

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ah! December? Where is the time going? How have you all been?

I've been writing my novel (thanks for the encouragement!), revising fairies, heading south for research interviews, and getting lost in journals of people that lived hundreds of years ago. Before the holidays totally consume us, I wanted to quick get this old post up. Because it's all about Almost-Winter in New England, which is one of my favorite times, and it's nearly done already.

During this particular time of year, the land here is enchanted:

(I tried to paint it last week, out the studio window.)

The palette across our land here in New England becomes rich and complex during this season. Out on an echoing walk through the hollow woods you can see mulberries, purples-bruised-to-blacks, plums, poisonous reds on neutrals, rumbling umbers, steely evergreen and that perfect hard-to-mix slate blue sky. It is soggy under your feet, the light is long and a little bit sad, the air is dense and sweet with the smell of leaves turning to earth. You think about the people who have felt home here too, over thousands of years, and everyone, for a moment feels connected and alive. The deciduous trees become ringed kings topped in copper crowns. They are as many ghosts as there are trees...and Christmas will settle into the land if you cue a Coventry Carol or two!



At the very edge of night and day, was when we'd love to go out and play in it, wrapped up in old table cloths for "old-fashioned dresses", "stewing" our rotten Halloween pumpkin in the burgundy dark over a flashlight, pretending we were putting up onion grass for the long winter under the deck, being chilled to the bone so when our mom would call us in for soup, it would be an unimaginable luxury...


My sister in Connecticut copper.



I think the season sounds exactly like Goldmund. Here's a song.


I actually wrote and re-wrote this post about a dozen times, because it's nearly impossible for me to talk about my landscape. So, I usually don't. My relationship to the land here is personal and bone-deep. I have entries saved about New England in the summer, the spirit in the land, the seagulls and the green. But I'm always stopped from posting by two things: (1) the belief that no one would want to read about things like seagulls and ocean! and (2) I am always at a loss for words, re: the land. Sometimes something is too beloved to explain.

(If you have read this far already, you should have a copper crown yourself!)


When I view hazy New England hills on a car drive, my reaction is always immediate. It's from the center of my chest. Peace settles through me while I scan the stacked golds and fire-tinged sphere against sphere. Is it having been born here? Having been lulled to sleep in the backseat watching them roll since I was born?  Maybe. I will probably always always live here, I don't think I'd ever be able to part with them (the hills-or the ghosts).



Sometimes just doing a little painting unlocks the language of the land for me, keeping my imagination planted firmly in the cold wet dirt while I write.

Is there a place that bewitches you, where you live?

13 comments:

Renee Kurilla said...

I feel like I was just living in your mind for a little moment there and it's a nice place. I will always read your posts about the seagulls and the ocean to the very last word. :)

I too, am bewitched by where I grew up, though I didn't realize it until I moved away. I can see the "special" in New England and that's why I stay here...but Northeastern PA has a magic all it's own. I've been trying to capture it for years...impossibly.

You might have just given me inspiration to try again. <3

Brooke Boynton Hughes said...

What a lovely post! Now I'm aching to visit New England.

But also feeling especially appreciative of the blue skies and purpley grey mountains of my Colorado home.

Your writing is wonderful!

Mai Kemble said...

Japan. There is a special smell that I can sense sometimes and it immediately makes me think of my aunt's home in the countryside of Japan. It makes me feel so nostalgic and even though its been years since I've been there and I'd only been there once or twice (once as a baby!) I still feel so close to that place.

m said...

I am so glad you love this land that beget you.

e.b. goodale said...

<3

Michael Startzman said...

I love the winter landscape painting! Thanks for sharing!

www.juliadenos.com said...

Aw, I love that story, Mai. Isn't it neat how just a smell can bring you there?

www.juliadenos.com said...

Brooke, I've also wanted to see those Colorado mountains myself. You are lucky to be there!

And thanks for the kind words, Renee, you are so sweet! I think its neat you feel the same for where you grew up in PA...thanks for sharing!

ETCIllustration said...

I feel like New England's weather is truly MOODY.

I've been here so long with few-and-far-between visits to my hometown (North Palm Beach, FL) that I sometimes forget what NPB felt like. But whenever I go back to visit, it washes over me, like a memory becoming physical. The air is different, the sun is different, the light, the smell, the sand, the ocean. The landscape is flat with big open skies. I love being in New England--you're right in that there's something enchanting about it--but whenever I go back to FL I feel a type of happy that I don't feel up here. It's actually kind of wonderful to love two places so much that they're both home, in totally different ways!

www.juliadenos.com said...

Ohhh I can totally imagine the warm rays of NPB, Ellen. Thanks for sharing, so neat that everyone really does have that relationship with their own "places". I like your "memory becoming physical" bit, that's just how it feels!

Hannah B. said...

Absolutely beautiful, Julia! I totally understand a love affair with the land that is hard to put into words! That's how I feel about the Smokies :)
xo*

Janet Kemper said...

Beautifully written! I miss New England. I grew up there and lived there until I moved to Colorado 4 years ago. I love and appreciate the beauty that is the Rocky mountains everyday now. I knew I would miss New England, especially the ocean, but I am so surprised how deeply I miss it. Every time I visit...I just appreciate it more and more.

jenhill said...

This post makes me ache for my New England days. I love your beautiful tree paintings.