Saturday, December 11, 2010

Winter's Bones...

The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination....

Terri Guillemets

I recently saw a movie filmed in and about our Ozarks called Winter's Bone...What a dark, depressing, draining portrayal of the hardships, struggles and perseverance of a teenage girl caught up in the consequences of her methamphetamine -manufacturing  family .  I'd like to say it was simply fiction and that it didn't represent the truth or depict our Ozarks fairly, but I work with the public enough to realize that even though I live in my happy middle class, chicken raising, garden growing world, there are others that aren't as fortunate.  One element of the movie that emphasized the mood of the plot--see above, depression--was the fact it was shot in the winter..The coldness, the gray colors or lack of color, added to the hopelessness of the characters--definitely not a "feel good" movie.  

You can either get caught up in the stillness, lack of color and lifelessness of the season and become a sort of "gardener hibernator" or view this as a time to examine what's left--the bones of our gardens. It seems that it's easier to imagine or remember the colors of the past season by viewing the remnants of the garden.

I think that black and white photography illustrates the beauty of the frame work of the spent flowers, the limbs of the leafless trees and the structure of the frozen plants.. By removing the brown tones of the dying plants and high-lighting or focusing on the skeleton, the details and contrasts of the photo are emphasized. Suddenly something old, dirty, dead-takes on a new vision...

Leaving some of the flowers undisturbed not only provides food and shelter for the birds and wildlife, it's becoming an acceptable practice--i.e.."winter interest."  I think that term is actually intended to refer to plants that provide some sort of color or interest through out the winter such as berries, seed pods, ornamental grasses, evergreens...  I know that I tend to overuse the phrase.

In fact, every bed that I neglect to clean up, every pot that I fail to put away, every garden tool that hasn't found it's way back to the shed--winter interest...

View my chicken-blog at


  1. Rebecca,

    I love the b/w images- perfect for winter. I just recently moved to a much colder climate just last year- here we have winter, and that means a little snow and things dying down for a bit. I wanted to move to this type of climate (grew up in a similar climate, but more snow) and have the 4 seasons- I so enjoy the anticipation for green things, it's like magic every year!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and be prepared for a few questions about chickens! We plan to get a few in the future :)

  2. I enjoyed your photos. I'll have to see what some of mine look like in black and white. I have lots of the kind of winter interest you do.

    I've not heard of that movie. I live in a city of over 200,000, and we have people get busted for meth and marijuana operations, both in town, and in the country around us. My next door neighbor has a granddaughter who spent time in prison because she and a guy she was with were trying to steal fertilizer to make meth with. Her teeth were rotted out from using it, and she lost custody of her children. Her mom is raising them, except for the one whose dad got custody of him, because he didn't want to pay for child support. It's sad.

  3. Jeff and I saw that movie when it first came out at the theater, we both loved it. Your right it isn't a feel good movie, but it was well done and was very true to the way of life of meth production.

  4. Now who wants to be gloomy? Yet each time I get out of the house to buy groceries or to do errands, I never fail to see other people who seem to be stuck in the 'winter days' of their life. Sometimes I feel pity for some of them yet I dislike others who seem to imitate the poor ones only to take advantage of others.



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