I made it through three shows and two sets of houseguests (all delightful to see) in a week and a half period, and I was due for some serious vacation. I’m out in Washington state, sleeping late, reading lots of baseball news, hitting some truly great thrift stores, and revisiting some favorite places in an unexpected streak of sunshine. I’ve managed exactly one sketch so far, and I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself. It’s sometimes good to take breaks.
I have been taking photos as I walk though. The frost is amazing, especially since I stay right along the Skagit River. I’d always heard the term “hoar frost” in the British novels I read, but I hadn’t been sure what exactly it was. It turns out that mist and fog rising off rivers in cold conditions can freeze in almost sculptural ways. I’ve had fun taking some photos.
The frost in the great meadow at Rasar State Park (one of my magic places) extends only into about a third of the meadow and burns off as it gets further away from the river. Part of that is the deep valley that keeps out most of the sun. The bottom right photo above is just about noon. I can see why fairy tales so often came from the northern regions. It’s not a little uncanny to walk out of strong sunshine and into blue dimness in the middle of the day. It feels like entering Narnia and the land of perpetual winter, where you walk over an invisble boundary into fairyland. My dad brought me a book of Scandinavian fairy tales when I was little that was one of my favorites for years. I’m feeling its echoes on this trip.
I also went down to the pebble beach at the end of the park, which is one of my favorite places. It’s stunning in winter in a completely different way. It was a gorgeous way to spend a morning, and then I headed back to the land of heating and good, local pizza after being out in the cold for a couple of hours.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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