Tag Archives: Winter

The Color of Water

Many years ago, I read the remarkable book, The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride.   I’ll leave it to you to check it out and see what “color of water” refers to in that unforgettable story.  But the phrase has always stuck with me and it came to mind last week when I was in the Adirondacks enjoying a warm-ish spring day, photographing details and patterns as the forest comes out of it’s deep freeze.

Water, in all it’s forms, was everywhere.  

Thick, dense, white fog floated above the streams early in the day.   Where snow had melted from the forest floor, there was still a coating of whitish ice but the colors of pine needles and twigs beneath showed through. The lakes were half water, half ice.  Expanses of water  reflecting the blue sky were interspersed with expanses of grayish ice in varying stages of melting.  Two feet of white snow covered one trail but was so close to melting that we just kept sinking into it.  Water was flowing and dripping everywhere.

The phrase, “the color of water” came to mind as I observed all these different forms of water and the variety of colors being presented.

Here are just a few of the water forms and patterns that I witnessed that day along with some mandalas that deepen the experience of the colors.  Perhaps you will be able to tell which images provided the source for each mandala?

Color of Water 1 ©GSHaile The snow is gone from the forest floor but a thin coat of ice remains giving a hazy, unfocused look to the pine needles underfoot.

Color of Water 1 ©GSHaile
In some spots, the snow is gone from the forest floor but a thin coat of ice remains giving a hazy, unfocused look to the pine needles underfoot.

Color of Water 2 ©GSHaile A patch of ice on the parking lot asphalt takes on a bluish cast from the sky reflecting in the highlights.

Color of Water 2 ©GSHaile
A patch of ice on the parking lot asphalt takes on a bluish cast from the sky reflecting in the highlights.

Color of Water 3 ©GSHaile Water streaming down to the lake from the snow melt creates interesting patterns in the sand.

Color of Water 3 ©GSHaile
Water streaming down to the lake from the snow melt creates interesting patterns in the sand.

Color of Water 4 ©GSHaile Reflection of the sky and trees in a patch of melting ice on top of Fourth Lake.

Color of Water 4 ©GSHaile
Reflection of the sky and trees in a patch of melting ice on top of Fourth Lake.

Color of Water Mandala 1 ©GSHaile

Color of Water Mandala 1 ©GSHaile

Color of Water Mandala 2 ©GSHaile

Color of Water Mandala 2 ©GSHaile

Color of Water Mandala 3 ©GSHaile

Color of Water Mandala 3 ©GSHaile

Color of Water Mandala 4 ©GSHaile

Color of Water Mandala 4 ©GSHaile

 

 

Shadows in the Snow

Snow, snow, and more snow!  We’ve had a LOT of snow this year.  We’ve actually had a lot of sun as well which is unusual. The combination of the two has been intriguing as I watched all the shadows created on the blank canvas of the snow.  I don’t usually venture out much in the snow but these abstract shadows were just so intriguing.  So I put my high boots on and tromped about in knee high snow to capture just a few of them.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 1   Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 1 Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 5   Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 5 Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 4   Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 4 Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 3   Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 3 Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 2  Click on image to enlarge.

©Gail Haile_Snow Shadows 2 Click on image to enlarge.

 

Frost Mandala 6

Frost Mandalas

Winter is in full force in my part of the world.  Most days, I feel like I live inside a snow globe.

And it’s cold!  When the temperatures goes  below about 10 °F there is often frost on a few of our windows. The  frost phenomenon happens on windows when there is a some moisture and extreme cold.  Two windows near our bathroom often have frost in the morning when the nighttime temps have been in the single digits or below.  One of my winter delights is to check the windows in the morning for frost and see what sorts of interesting patterns the frost has made.  The patterns are usually back lit with the rising sun so they can be particularly beautiful.

Last week there were some particularly interesting frost patterns, like feathers. I couldn’t wait to see what they might offer in the form of frost mandalas.

I hope you enjoy these feathery frost mandalas.

Stay warm and think warm thoughts!

Christmas Market in Zurich

The Christmas Markets of Europe are legendary.  We spent the better part of November in Zurich, Switzerland with family.  The trip was mostly for the purpose of greeting our second grandson and helping out, all great fun but not the usual tourist activities.  We did, however, take  a few hours one day to stroll around the city and enjoy the Christmas season atmosphere of Zurich and it’s Christmas Market.  I wanted to give you a glimpse of the sensory feast that is Zurich at Christmas time.   (Be sure to also read the captions included with many of the images.)

Many towns in Europe, large and small, have Christmas Markets.  Zurich’s is located in the main train station, though the nearby shopping district along the famous Bahnhofstrasse also takes on the air of a Christmas Market.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

Zurich main train station, Bahnhofstrasse entrance.

The main train station is often teeming with people.  This was a “slow” Monday morning as we tried to avoid the crowds.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

A slow mid-morning on Monday at the Hauptbahnhof in Zurich.

The ubiquitous Mondaine clocks of the Swiss Railway, a smaller version of this clock can be found at every train stop in Zurich.  True to Swiss precision, they self correct every minute.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

The huge clock in the main station in Zurich.

As you turn around from the previous scenes, the Christmas Market fills the other end of the station.  Grüezi” is the Swiss German equivalent of “Hello”.   The huge central Christmas tree is dripping with thousands of Swarovski crystals. 

Zurich Christmas Season-1

All manner of items are on display.  My favorites were the intricately carved wooden decorations and the pop-up cards.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

Zurich Christmas Season-1

The Christmas Market spills over into the outside corridors of the station as well as along the famed Bahnhofstrasse.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

Just a few of the special foods that tempt in the Christmas market.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

In the US , our notion of “swiss cheese” is pitifully limited. This is a very small selection of Swiss cheeses.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

A plain pretzel from Brezelkönig (Pretzel King). You can also get them with butter, with cheese, with meat, and much more. There are pretzel stands on most every corner in Zurich.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

One of the many sources of chocolate. The Swiss chocolate shops are more like jewelry stores. This one even had a guard by the front door.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

Läderach chocolate Santas.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

Roasted Chestnut (Heisse Marroni) stands dot the city beginning in November.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

Christmas cookies are an age old tradition in most European cultures.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

Christmas cookies with intricate “painting” of traditional Swiss farmers.

I found this little pocket for Christmas  solitude and meditation in a corner of a shopping area.

Zurich Christmas Season-1

 

I hope you enjoyed this tiny glimpse into the Christmas market in Zurich.  It’s always fun to be exposed to traditions that are unique to our own but it also makes me pause to consider what my traditions are.  Take time to savor and appreciate the details of your family’s particular holiday traditions.

Waiting to Thaw

It’s been a very long, very cold winter.  It’s the beginning of March and there are still mounds and mounds of snow and mostly grey skies.  There are a few hints of spring with the occasional flock of robins and the lovely little heads of snowdrops poking up at the edge of the snowbank in the garden. Living in the northern climates, it’s those little glimpses of hope that keep one going at this point.  It seems that we’re all just waiting to thaw, physically and emotionally from the long winter. (more…)

Hope in the Winter Woods: Second Look

Recently, I began a practice of going back into my archives and pulling out images that I had forgotten about, something I call Second Look.  There are 100’s of thousands of images in my archives. I am a classic over-shooter.  It’s not unusual for me to be on a trip and come home with 5,000 images. When I get back to the studio, I download the images, but often have to get back to other work.  It may be a while, sometimes even years till I took at those images.   So I have lots of material just waiting for that second look.   (more…)

Play Mode: Mandala Monday

I rediscovered play this week.  We’ve all had those times.  They come into our lives for many different reasons.  We all have times when it seems the joy of doing what you love is either gone or a bit dimmed.  For a great many reasons I was there the past few weeks. My brain and body were tired from a busy month, some traveling, exciting happenings, family visiting, new ideas and projects to learn…all good things but I was tired.

I’ve never been good at taking that pause to just be and to let myself rest before moving on. There was a commercial for something or other at one time that used the tagline, “the pause that refreshes”.  There is refreshment that comes with slowing down and pausing instead of just barreling ahead full steam on to the next thing. (more…)

Frost Patterns: Mandala Monday

 

When it’s cold, very cold, there’s this lovely thing that happens on windows some times…frost, poetically known as fern frost for the fern-like tendrils that meander across the window.  I’ve been photographing these lovely designs lately and thought they might be interesting source for mandalas.

These mandalas remind me of this quote by the author T. A. Barron, “Every piece of the universe, even the tiniest little snow crystal, matters somehow. I have a place in the pattern, and so do you.”

I wish you all holidays filled with wonder and peace!

©Gail Haile_Fern Frost Mandala 2 ©Gail Haile_Fern Frost Mandala 3 ©Gail Haile_Fern Frost Mandala 4

Sparkling Mandalas: Mandala Monday

Lately, I’ve been digging in to my archives of images.  I came across this one, taken after a 2 foot snowfall, on a bright sunny day (a rare combination in these parts 🙂 ).  The snow was particularly light and fluffy and the sun sparkled off it, almost illuminating each individual snowflake.  This one bush was still hanging on to it’s leaves, leaves that looked almost skeletal, and each leaf had a little sparkling snow cap.  These snowy mandalas capture a bit of that same feeling.

First Snowfall: Mandala Monday

A few years ago, I captured this tree after the first heavy, wet snowfall just prior to Christmas.  As I was getting in the Christmas mode yesterday, all of a sudden I realized I’d almost forgotten about this post.  And I hadn’t created any mandalas yet (at least not ones that I could share just yet).  For some reason I thought of this image of the snowy tree and began to play around with it.  I think I had used to make just one mandala when I was first figuring out how to make them, but have never created any more with this image.  As usual, some pleasant surprises were hidden there.