On a day very near the end of the year, I paid a visit to one of my favorite places, Laurel Hill Cemetery, for the first time since returning to Maine. We’d had a couple of good snowstorms by then, and I was suffering from a mild case of cabin fever. I’d intended to drive down to the beach to see what the snow looked like there — as a California native, I’m still bemused by the sight of snow on the beach. But the road to the beach passes by the cemetery, and on impulse I turned into the drive.
Most of the small lanes had been plowed, but fresh snow covered everything else. I saw only one or two sets of footprints leading off the road to a gravesite. It was very cold and very still. I stood for a long time beneath a tall tree, trying to locate the source of a quiet, intermittent tapping. A woodpecker, I thought, though I never could spot it. I saw a squirrel or two and heard, once, a flutter of wings and quick burst of birdsong.
At the edge of a hill sloping down to the river, someone had placed a wreath on a stake, just a simple circle of balsam twigs with a red bow, vivid against the black and white landscape. A remembrance, no doubt, though there was no headstone nearby nor any note attached.
I wandered along the narrow roadways for about an hour, breathing the clean, cold air and taking photos. The one above is of a spot I’ve visited often, though I’ve never seen it like this before. I love the dark evergreens, the latticework of leafless branches, the soft grey sky and pure white snow-covered ground, the river a shining sheet of ice in the background. I look at this image and I take a deep, relaxed breath, in and out, utterly at peace.
In a few months, this spot will look very different. The sky will be bright blue, the branches will be glowing with new, pale green leaves, and that entire slope will be blanketed with yellow and white daffodils. Hundreds of people will come to enjoy the sight, many of them to take photos of their own. I’ll be there then, too.
But for now, I will treasure this cold, fallow season, this quiet time, filling my heart with what is, as I wait for what is to come.
Linking with the Photo-Heart Connection at Kat Eye Studio.