More sketches from a winter walk.
Every year about this time I take a day or two off to spend some serious time working on another project that has held my interest for over four years now.
International correspondence writing month is where participants sign up with a plan to send at least one letter every day for a month. February being a good one because it’s the shortest.
I want to share yesterdays post from the site and encourage you to take a look.
You have till the end of the month to join in if it appeals to you.
Clicking on the following link will take you to the site.
One of the great things about being a human being is our nearly unlimited capacity for discovery, adventure, and storytelling.
This perfect combination seems to feed our imagination, widen our horizons and bring us closer together at the same time. There’s something in being able to venture out our front door and return at the end of the day filled with thoughts, emotions and ideas that we want to share with others.
Whether it’s exploring a local shop we’ve never been in, setting out across a continent or peering into a recipe book; we press forward fired by the possibility of being surprised by the unexpected. The chance of coming across a strange and wonderful thing not part of our ordinary life. Something that inspires us to be better, embrace the richness of life and pass it on to others.
Every once in a while we stumble across a ridge that offers us a nearly unlimited view. It literally takes our breath away to look out and realize that every direction is an unexplored adventure. The immensity is overwhelming and exhilarating.
Looking at this years list of participants is a bit like that. More than a bit actually.
Your mind goes a bit numb as you realize just how many hills and trees are out there. And unless you’re just pausing on your way to a definite somewhere, it’s hard to know which direction to head.
I remember first coming across this project and thinking it was like some strange land already peopled by others. How do I introduce myself? Where do I start? Where’s the best place to go and how do I get there?
Fortunately that’s what this post is about.
You may have noticed the picture at the top of the page?
One of the most interesting things about a compass is it never tells you where to go. Instead it tells you where you’re headed.
Combine this with a chart and a plan and you can get almost anywhere you want.
If you think about it, the chart is already there. Write a letter to someone once a day for the month of February. Not very complicated and lots of room to manoeuver. We’re supposing you have all the necessaries for this adventure, pens, paper, envelopes and stamps. Pretty simple.
The next thing is the plan. Where do you want to go and what do you want to see? Personally I’ve never seen Kamchatka nor have I seen the local flower shows. Mostly it’s a case of opportunity, planning and interest.
Sometimes I like to stay close to home and get to know my back yard and daily surroundings better. Other times I decide to venture somewhere completely unknown.
And how does this relate to the address list you ask?
Incowrimo has always been a platform for exploring and adventure. Nobody says where those letters are supposed to go.
It offers unlimited connections around the globe and doesn’t mind if you want to write your next door neighbour.
Deciding for yourself what you want to do is probably the hardest and most rewarding part of the project. Spending a bit of time coming up with a plan is the most valuable thing you can do.
The fact that it’s -international- correspondence writing month gives you incredible opportunity not to mention a great deal of scope. Decide who you want to write. Not by name, but who will make your list.
People with only the letter B in their name? People who live in countries with mountains or by the sea? Someone who lives in the same state or region or maybe someone who lives in a region like yours on the other side of the planet?
Maybe you’ll write someone who lives somewhere you can’t imagine no matter how hard you try. Write to someone living close to where your favourite characters come from. Somewhere you might want to live one day. There are a lot of possibilities.
After that, it’s only a matter of finding the right names and you’re off.
A couple of sketches from a day long trek in the woods this week.
The snow is finally deep enough to get out the snowshoes. Breaking trail on a path is mostly OK but you’re quickly knee deep the second you step off to explore.
The wind has scattered seeds galore across the open white. There are signs of winter deer and the tiny feet of field mice accompanying mine as we traipse about the landscape. The birds seem to have mostly disappeared but it could have been my ears.
We lost most of this whiteness over the course of a couple of hours yesterday in our annual January thaw. A burst of warm damp air swelling up from the Gulf of Mexico and desperately pushing the leading edge of cold back towards the north.
It never lasts long, the temperatures plummeting back down to -15°C from a high of +13°C earlier in the day. It is truly surprising to watch a change of nearly 30°C between breakfast and supper.
Temperature is a funny thing. Relative it seems to our spirit, sunshine and the amount of dampness in the air.
At any rate, we’re back into winter and the increasing amount of light says that spring is just around the corner. Cheers et à bientôt !
I was out taking study shots in the snow yesterday when I realized just how deeply special this world is. The vast stillness of the north stretching out before me, I was truly warmed by the sense that this could be shared with others and I thank you one and all.
Happy New Year and best of wishes one and all, May you find peace in your heart, health in your life and cheer amongst those who are close to you. May your blessings be shared and your troubles halved, and may you find courage, strength and laughter in the months ahead.
Thank you to all who have followed this blog and have made this past year a wonderful pleasure. My hat goes off to you ..Happy New Year :)
Two sketches of the brightest moment of the shortest day of the year.
So we had our first warm day in a couple of weeks and a small snowfall to go with it. Even with the dampness and wet clumps of snow falling from branches, it meant a day of walking unencumbered with cloaks, coats, hats and various adjustments.
I’ve become quite enamoured with wool again and the shifts back and forth from 0ºC to -20ºC are a good chance to experiment with outdoor options and covering. When the wind picks up at -10ºC it’s a question of trying to protect the skin while disappating body heat and moisture at the same time while not building up a layer of ice.
So far I’ve got the dogs outfitted and most of my kit together for winter shooting. snowshoes, ice crampons, a newly fitted tripod pack and staff. A few days figuring how to attach it all together and we’re of for adventure. My only hesitation being the drop in temperature that will be arriving in a week or so where the weather can be a regular -20ºC to -35ºC or more, depending on the wind. Something for which you have to be prepared.
As much as I love the outdoors, it can be pretty unforgiving even close to home.
My hand has already frozen to a tripod leg this week and keeping batteries warm and condensation out of the camera present some special thought and care. Still there’s lots to see and I still find winter and scruffy forest a very special challenge.