And I was moved to ask myself just what I could still manage to accomplish in the time left to me.
Thus Arvo Pärt about his composition Lamentate, a piano concerto of sorts, inspired by Marsyas, the enormous sculpture by Anish Kapoor.
Pärt’s Lamentate is, as the name suggest, not merely a lament but a call to arms, in order create a counterweight to the state of the world. Marsyas does this in its own way, too, in the form of a musical instrument filling all of space.
The short canyon in Shades State park that leads from Devil’s Punch Bowl to Silver Cascades Falls is such an oversized instrument in its own right, to be played by walking it.
The beginning is total silence.
But, even during the worst drought, there is a trickle of water, feeding the fall with bits of sound and hope.
Yes, that’s right. Let’s begin the year with a recap of not last year, but of 2008, the year 10 years ago.
This year brought photographically two significant changes into my life: My move to full frame digital (and the ability to use a handful of SLR lenses I still had from film days), and the adjustment to the Indiana landscape.
It is not that the Indiana landscape is featureless. It is more a assembly of countless insignificant features that tire the eyes, with occasional exceptions.
Some are less obvious then others, but the only chance finding them is to look.
Sometimes I am being asked why I bother carrying a heavy camera when there is nothing worth to photograph.
Visiting some of the state parks has helped to open the eyes, like McCormicks Creek, Turkey Run, Shades, or Falls of the Ohio. This had been a good year.
I have done this several times, at different seasons, and both the fact that I keep repeating this hike and that it itself is a loop (returning to its beginning) makes be wonder about the purpose of this.
Return and repeat: Aren’t these early signs of failure? Wouldn’t it be better to give up and move on?
After being exposed to Iceland’s permeating Black, Green, and White last summer, I was surprised to find the same monochromaticity here, in late summer.
Green is a difficult color, and doesn’t pair well with a single other color I think, but it does exceedingly well in combination with black and white.
When we return, we are different, and view things differently, and possibly even the completion of a loop teaches us something new. That what makes us repeat is maybe the feeling that there is unfinished business, that the circle has been left open, in the way the ensō brush stroke is often left open.
So the loop, as a pattern, is nothing but a sophisticated mechanism to move on.
Shades State Park in Indiana has so many wonderful spots that it is easy to miss the little Nature Preserve at its boundary.
The 15 minute access trail is not really preparing the visitor for what happens at its end: A steep descent leads into the narrow Clift Creek valley, and you are greeted with steep, barren rock faces.
The creek meanders around backbones with promising names like Devil’s Backbone that are at some points less than two meters wide but offer vertical drops of 30 meters and more. Crossing them in winter requires care.
Even from below, these overhanging rock faces are vertiginous.
Usually, the best time to visit Indiana landscapes is during the Fall, but this place is so complex that it is almost made for a reduced color palette.
This ancient sandstone cliff looks tired. Who wouldn’t, after all these years.
These rocks were left for a forgotten purpose, waiting now for time to end.