Land of Gray

Semi-submerged log in Lake Washington at St. Edwards State Park.

Semi-submerged log in Lake Washington at St. Edwards State Park.

The Pacific Northwest is known as a land of green, but in the deepness of winter, I sometimes feel grey is more appropriate.

I mean it as an observation, not a judgment. Grey is beautiful and varied. In high school my absolute joy was black and white film photography. The silver compounds in a sheet of photo paper can synthesize what sometimes feels a truer vision of the world. The essence of objects is demystified through disassociation from their colors, their true forms and place shown by their relative values.

The sky in winter is perpetually gray, with blinding brightness bursting forth along the horizon below the cloud layer. Lakes turn silver, reflecting the gray. Weathered trees in the water seem colorless, existing in form and shade only, tintless.

The dimmer light of our short winter days desaturates the greens of the trees, naturally giving the world the look of an old-fashioned Instagram filter. Winter feels muted, hushed, in the uniform light. Shadow and highlight are not so different. Differences are obscured.

The constant mist of rain shrouds colors further. Larger raindrops fall, silver to white against the darker earth.

About Tracy Durnell

Seattle-area graphic designer and SFF writer inspired by the Pacific Northwest, crafting a sustainable and intentional life.

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