After a black and white weekend here at “A Photo A Day,” how about a splash of color? And I have no deep thoughts today. . .
I wasn’t really looking for a photo like this to post but when I came across it, I was so powerfully reminded of what it feels like to stand in this place on a promising summer morning that I had to publish it. I can feel the humid breeze, I can sense the growing warmth of the sun and I can smell the wild prairie grasses. I also know that as I took this photo I was thinking about the kind of day of sailing I would have.
This is all a sort of rapture for me and it is risky, given that summer is still 3 months away. But I can dream.
You may not know this but it isn’t the cool weather that causes the first leaves to turn color and fall. It’s the diminishing hours of sunlight. Photosynthesis – literally making something out of light – needs the fuel that sunlight offers and at some point in our part of the world, the leaves say, “I’m out of here!” and give up.
It also part of the cycle of life. But because I am leaf-like in my need for sun, I’m not all that excited about fall and the winter that will soon follow. What do I get from the sun? Warmth. Melatonin. No need to wear socks.
I had spent Friday, August 20, 2010, making small repairs to Wandering Star and then sailing, motoring and swimming on a hot, August day on Lake Oahe. Deb drove out from Watertown after work and arrived around 8 PM. I said, “We’re going to Hurricane Bay.” Because the wind had died to whisper, we motored west a few miles and dropped our anchor in a narrow, protected channel of the bay. We were alone. On this clear, warm evening it seemed like we had the bay, the lake and a billion stars all to ourselves.
The next morning, we woke up well before sunrise and around 6:30 we pulled up anchor and motored out into the main channel to watch the sunrise. The weather forecast said it was going to get to 100 degrees Fahrenheit on this day. But in the pre-dawn moments, it was beautiful. And just as the sun started to light up a band of clouds close to the horizon, I took this photo.
Yes, it’s “just another sunrise shot” but like my “just another sunset shot” from several weeks ago, there is much more here than meets the eye: I was with my favorite person on my favorite boat in one of my favorite places. Some would call central South Dakota on a 100+ degree day “god-forsaken.” I would say that you must have your senses shut down if you aren’t seeing god here – especially in a beautiful, quiet sunrise like this.
I often find that some photos become favorites more for sentimental reasons than for aesthetic considerations. This photo is perhaps the best example I have of that. Pictured is the Mission Creek area near the Little Bend of the Missouri River. I have spent the night in my sailboat, Ariel, which is named after a sea spirit in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. I have walked up on to a bluff and am looking northeast over a glass-smooth body of water.
Is this a great photo? No. Is is one of my favorites? Yes. But only because it helps me remember what it’s like to be in (for me) the perfect place: warm, quiet and utterly peaceful.
Incidentally, I use this photo to illustrate the rule of thirds and the principle that the eye is typically drawn to the brightest part of the picture, which is my sailboat.
No photo info: this is a scan of a film image (so 20th century!)