Water Closet for October 30, 2015
[pullquote]”Then there are a dozen additional variables besides pigments on the unseen artist’s broad palate: temperature, light angle, light intensity, humidity, genetics, rain amounts, frosts, cloud cover, wind, air pollution, etc.”[/pullquote] Words for fall colors and feelings have much eluded us in the Water Closet over the years. Many poems and pieces of descriptive prose have been attempted but none satisfy. Maybe we should just settle for the oohs and aahs of most folks, yet the urge for good description remains strong. Apparently Stream Teamers and Closeteers are not the only ones who fail to catch in words these complex changes to share with others. None of us can readily remember something written by others that describe the fleeting colors and the moods they invoke.
Earlier this month when “October’s Bright Blue Weather”1 was strongly being tinged by bright color changes in leaves, a friend of the Stream Team and Friday morning Council on Aging/Conservation hiker, retired nurse Susan Hathaway Piccole of Middleton, shared her recently written poem on fall color changes with the Water Closet. We like it.
There is a master painter
The best in all the land
She sketches on her canvas
With soft and gentle hand
Royal crimsons and burgundy
With a hint of sparkling gold
A subtle blending of raw umber
As shadowings unfold
Brilliant yellow and burnt sienna
To complement forest green
The woods are brought to life
By light brush strokes of tangerine
Mirrored on a silver pond
With soft clouds of a cerulean sky
Autumn’s palate is unfolding
A cacophony of colors, pleasing to the eye
She does not sign her work
Nor is she seeking fame
But I will share a secret
Mother Nature is her name
Here Susan lays the words for human painters’ colors on Mother
Nature. Even TV art interpreter Sister Wendy2 from a satellite would have trouble describing this uneven New England canvas at it peak. Then there are a dozen additional variables besides pigments on the unseen artist’s broad palate: temperature, light angle, light intensity, humidity, genetics, rain amounts, frosts, cloud cover, wind, air pollution, etc. Day by day it changes, even hour by hour. Is it any wonder that painters and poets have trouble in their valiant attempts each fall? Even botanists who study the chemistry of color changes in leaves are left with as many questions as answers. Singer songwriter Iris DeMent in her famous song “Let the Mystery Be” might leave it at that. However, in the Closet we urge artists, poets, musicians, and scientists to all have a go. Perhaps they can change Susan’s “cacophony” to symphony. As they do, the ever changing canvas will get richer and deeper while the rest of us still ooh and aah.
1 Poem by Helen Hunt Jackson
2 Sister Wendy Beckett, art historian, won international fame with her interpretations of famous paintings on BBC television, rebroadcast here on PBS.
WATER RESOURCE AND CONSERVATION INFORMATION
FOR MIDDLETON, BOXFORD AND TOPSFIELD
|Precipitation Data* for Month of:||July||Aug||Sept||Oct|
|30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches||3.89||3.37||3.77||4.40|
|2015 Central Watershed Actual||2.12||2.67||3.97||0.6 as of 10/26**|
Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For Oct 26, 2015 Normal . . . 17 CFS Current Rate . . . 75 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru Sept..
**Middleton Stream Team is source of actual precipitation data for Oct.
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584