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No. 4: The Year of Staying Put

Winter 2020

Many things have slowed down all around us, providing time for both reflection and groundedness. I have spent more time out of doors, closer to home, than in longer than I can remember. I’ve also thought about things that develop over time, in nature as well as in the things we create.

One afternoon a couple of months ago, I enjoyed an interlude full of a sense of timelessness, on Agate Beach at Duxbury Reef. I was so happy to be there with my family and my sister and her family, on a beautiful afternoon. The cliff is crumbling, and the visual effects are almost otherworldly, or maybe lunar. And I was intrigued when I realized how little I actually understood about every little thing around me.

The tide was out, and I took many, many photos. Some scenes looked fairly static, but as my bare feet moved from spot to spot, and ever closer to the water line, my perspective changed. I kept click-click-clicking, wanting to capture these inspiring palettes and patterns of nature.

What are agates made of? Do they have blue mineral components and green mineral components of different weights, so that they deposit themselves together when the water withdraws? How else could this happen? Would it disappear five minutes later, or overnight?

All these scenes will change over time, as another layer is applied or washed away. In a sense, the same is true of this past year and its myriad losses. Let’s hope that we will all find solace and beauty… and cautious optimism for the New Year.