It’s cabin-fever season for me. Maybe not the “normal” kind of cabin fever that stems from being cooped up…I don’t really have an issue with that in the winter since we enjoy lots of snow-play activities. Instead, it’s a kind of cabin fever I experience when spring starts to emerge in brief glimpses and I’m able to walk outside one or two or six mornings because the snow has melted enough that sidewalks and roads are safer…and then winter comes back and I need to be content with indoor cardio of some variety for a bit. I am grateful for indoor options through the whole winter. At the very end, though, I start to resent those indoor options. I only want to be outside. We’re in that stretch now, and I’m trying hard to be happy with outdoor walks when they can happen and know that I’ll be outside most days very soon. It’s not really working. I’m just ready to be outside.
We had a huge wind storm a little over a week ago. It was messy. Lots of people were without power…some for a very long time, and lots of people were working very long hours to repair downed wires and poles and to clean up fallen trees and fix other damage. Last weekend, amidst the clean-up stretch following that storm, I had one of those moments when I just needed to be outside. I like walking through town during the wee hours of the morning, but when I walk later in the day, I prefer to walk over to our town park and walk the trails. It was a midday walk and I was going to be solo…I hadn’t been to the park since the storm and had no idea what shape it would be in. But I needed air in my lungs. Cold, fresh air that only the last breaths of winter offer. I decided to take my chances on the trails. My husband was getting ready to travel for work for the week, so I knew outdoor walks would be challenging during his week away. Plus, we had a snowstorm hot on our heels, so I would be indoor-bound for a bit after that anyway.
It was the right decision to go breathe outdoors, though I did have to navigate around huge fallen trees blocking the trail in a couple of spots. There was more damage than I expected, actually. It was kind of alarming to see how much had fallen–both trees and just debris of a million sorts. As many of you may know, I’m a walking hazard unto myself, so I’m usually looking down when I walk so I don’t trip over things. Some of the debris might have been down from before and I just hadn’t noticed, but I still think our little park took a big hit from the wind. I snapped several pics of damage and debris and filled my lungs to brimming with that in-between air that is part old winter and part new spring. It was glorious. Refreshed and ready to embrace winter’s return for a bit, I wandered back home to enjoy watching Fantastic Beasts with my little family.
When I was reviewing pics the next day, my brain blossomed a little connection between most of the photos I had taken and a trend I’ve been loving in cinematography lately. After watching Fantastic Beasts, which was fantastic, btw, we watched a few previews for the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. Belle is my very favorite of the Disney princesses…because she loves books, of course. And because she sees the best in people, even when they’re being beastly. And she loves her dad so sweetly…and doesn’t give in to Gaston, who is the real beast. I could go on and on. She’s a gem. And Emma Watson?? Beyond-perfect casting. I’m a Harry Potter nut, so to have a Potterite playing the role of one of my favorite childhood characters…ahhhhhhhh! Well, while watching the movie and previews, we noticed how the filmmakers for both films used color and, even more so, a lack of color, to help tell the stories–it was so cool! Fantastic Beasts kind of came alive with energy and color during certain scenes, most especially those scenes in Newt’s suitcase with his incredible magizoological collection. It’s a very clever visual layer that I’m not sure I’ve seen used so effectively before, though I’m sure it was my lack of observation and not that this technique is necessarily new. I know this is something animators do as well, but with most animation, the color is just a bit washed out in the areas they don’t want the viewer to focus on and vibrant where they do want us to focus. Not so dramatic.
So, the connection? Winter leaves the world…at least my little corner of the world…very monochromatic. The world tells its own story in colors and lack thereof. If I had thought of this connection before my post-wind trek and photo mini adventure, I would have looked for a cardinal or blue bird hopping around. Of course, they may not have been hopping about due to the return of winter-esque weather events. Anyway, you can see the very drab colors that almost make this a sepia-toned photo, even though it was not taken with any kind of a filter. That’s just how blah the colors are right now. There is that rebellious little red-twig shrub on the right…my mom will know what it is. If it’s what I’m thinking (of course I don’t know the name, but…) it’s desirous around here just for that little pop of color that is retained even when the leaves fall away. I know (some varieties of?) Japanese maple trees also have red branches, but I think this is a shrubby something-or-other. Even that is not very vibrant, though.
Imagine a cardinal sitting amongst all of this. That’s what filmmakers are doing with lots of these recent films. I love it. It very much adds to the emotional spectrum for me. If I were to see a cardinal sitting in a field of Japanese maple trees or amongst burning bushes in the fall when their leaves are all aflame or even in a wild rainbow of colors, the cardinal would not stand out or be very significant, but seeing a cardinal amongst the detritus left in winter’s wake totally takes my breath away.
If you see the new Beauty and the Beast, watch for scenes with Belle in her blue dress and for scenes with the Beast’s rose. See if you notice the use of colors…how it draws the eye and how it brings significance in a different way. If I’m remembering correctly from the previews, there was a scene with Belle in her blue dress and the rest of the scene held lots of browns, golds, and yellows. She just popped and you couldn’t help but follow her as she wanders down the street. So clever! My college film professor would be proud. I so often look to any video material–especially new stuff–as simply entertainment and forget there can be an artistic aspect that goes into the making of these projects. I’ve always preferred older movies when I’m craving something artsy, but I’m appreciating artistry in new film material more and more often of late.
So, a drab winter scene with some wind destruction is what I have for you this week. It’s not all that spectacular. It doesn’t have any guiding pops of color to draw the eye. Being fairly certain that at least most of the trees were standing two weeks ago, it was equally alarming and impressive to me when I came upon it. But after reviewing the photos at home, they have become more significant because they pulled my mind into this reveling of how color plays a role in how we see things, and I have appreciated that aspect of reflection I hadn’t anticipated when taking the photos. I may yet capture that cardinal photo before spring’s greens take over. I won’t ask spring to wait, though. There is always next year for more winter shots!