Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Nearly Narnia. Snow... oh, oh!
Lucy discovers the land of Narnia when she hides in an old wardrobe. One moment she is pushing her way in between old fur coats and other garments, and the next she is tumbling out of the back of the wardrobe into a land that is deep in snow. Of course this all takes place in a children's story by C. S. Lewis, "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe". As a child, I did try to find Narnia through the back of our wardrobe at home, but the plywood back remained firm, and the jackets and trousers on their hangers, tickled my ears and brushed my neck. In the books that concern Narnia, it was mostly children that found the way to that world, although there were some notable exceptions.
I think we found Narnia last Sunday evening, or that it came very close to us. Snow began falling with real purpose through Sunday afternoon, and, by nightfall, there was a good covering of it over everything outside. About 10.30 at night, I wrapped up warmly and took the camera out for what I thought would be a fairly futile attempt at capturing some of the scene by night. The snow made things hazardous, it was a little too wet and turned to ice under foot, but I made my way beside our house to where I could get a view of the snow under our trees; and there was Narnia! The orange glow of a street light made puddles of pale colour on the snow between the trees. The light contrasted with the dark blue shadows and the charcoal grey of the tree trunks. Away from the light, everything merged with a gloom that was so complete that the uncertain lines of branches and trunks seemed to vibrate. What I saw was like the description of that place in Narnia where a gas lamp glows in the depths of a snow covered forest. I found myself looking for Mr Tumnus the fawn, hoping that I would see him stepping daintily amongst the pools of light and shade.
In the morning I did find little footsteps in the snow, but I think they belonged to someone other than a fawn!
That night I took a few photos under the trees, and a photo of Laura's wooden construction that fills in where our side gate should be (the real gate was stolen a few months ago, and I have yet to replace it). Something about the side "gate" reminded me of paintings by the American artist, Edward Hopper (of Nighthawks fame). The black silhouette of the "gate" contrasted with the butter yellow colour of the lamp lit snow. To my joy, the photos actually did turn out with a little "tweaking" with Gimp (a wonderful free image editor).
In the morning I took a few more photos by daylight of a world that was white. A bitterly cold gale kept my time outside short. We had more snow than the fall of snow we had about three weeks ago, but this snow kept thawing, then building, then thawing again, so it did not accumulate as much as it might have. The main road to Dunedin was blocked Sunday night and most of Monday, so we enjoyed relative peace, but the snow was less friendly than before, and we did worry about the sheep and the new lambs that are starting to appear at this time.
Interestingly, this snow was something of a record setter, as it did snow a little in Auckland in the North Island. Auckland usually enjoys a sub-tropical climate and hardly knows frost or real cold, so snow in the air was a big topic on the 6 oclock news on Monday evening. Indeed there was some debate as to the difference between hail, sleet, and snow, as some unkind commentators had attempted to question the validity of Auckland's claim. Expert opinion had to be summoned to settle things! According to records, Auckland last enjoyed snow on 27 July, 1939 (see Auckland in wiki under the heading, "climate"). In a world that is beset with so many woes, it is refreshing to see that a sprinkling of snow in a mostly warm city can grab headlines!
On the potting front... I am currently firing a test fish jug and some other pots and glaze tests. I want to be certain that I get the glaze right for the coil built fish jug, so I am doing this firing to make sure that I know what I am doing!