Thursday, August 22, 2013

On this very day in August


It has been 42 years since I read William Faulkner's Light in August.  I remember some of the characters - the doomed Joe Christmas, in particular.  But, what I remember most was that this very violent, brooding novel should have had its original title, Dark House, not a title that suggests any kind of beauty or brightness.

With the passing of years, I've come to notice that there is indeed a special light unique to the waning days of August.  I can contrast this with the light here in Georgia in the month of May. The latter has a quality that gives you hope of the summer season to come, of warm days and soft nights.  But there's something rather plaintive, yet decidedly beautiful, about the way the sun filters through the trees and lies over the land in August.  I notice it most in the afternoons, when a few leaves are floating down prematurely from the trees lining my driveway, and the light seems to come in at more of a slant.

Actually, no one's seen much light around here this entire summer.  But, today it's there.  I'm looking out right now at the beauty of the sunshine falling on the leaves of the clipped box holly next to the French door.  It's hard to describe; it's almost bright, yet with a kind of softness, as well.

The photograph above was taken on August 22 two years ago.  This is a garden that depends mostly on  green, with splashes of color as the seasons ebb and flow.  The light I've seen today and in other years in August is not evident above.  There are specks of light coming down, but they are harsh (I probably took the picture at noon, when the dappled light was at its worst).

Still, this is a beautiful garden for the 22nd day of August and is an example of the role different textures can play in a composition.  I just wish I could have captured the special light of August on that day.  I'll have to try again soon.