“The object of the artist is the creation of the beautiful. What the beautiful is is another question.”
This week mother nature let us know who’s boss here in South Carolina. For weeks we’ve watched reports of freezing temps and snow in the Northern and Midwestern US. Through it all, we’ve stayed warm and cozy on our little island here in Coastal South Carolina. All of that blew away in an instant this week with a strong, frigid wind and an ice storm that wouldn’t quit. So naturally, I’ve chosen ICE as the “Object” of my response to Cheri’s photo challenge.
“Nothing that surrounds us is object, all is subject.”
Truth is, I greatly respect and admire those who get up and go out into the cold day after day – I did it myself for many years. But most northern transplants (including yours truly), think we’ve left all of that long behind. Our blood has grown thin and our fleece and down clothing has been donated, thrown out, or stuffed in the very back of our most remote closet. Our boots are designed for fashion rather than function and hats are something we save for the golf course. Translation? We are totally unprepared for winter weather.
“The quality of beauty lies in how the beholder values an object.”
Friends and family still living in cooler climes join us in laughter at the mess that is created in the south by an inch or two of ice or snow. We have no snow plows, no salt trucks, no snow tires, no snow blowers, no ice scrapers. Our bridges freeze up and access between many key locations is quickly lost. Not surprisingly, our internet access and cable TV disappear almost instantly, but thanks to smartphones we are able to stay connected. Restaurants, bars, schools and just about everything else closes, and all but the most critical medical care is unavailable.
“Poetry, history and philosophy all have the same object, and a very great object—Man and Nature. “
George Louis Leclerc Buffon
More importantly, the ice wreaks havoc with our power lines and sadly for those affected, the resources of our power companies are ill-prepared for the onslaught of customers in need. Heating systems designed for minimal use are nowhere near up to the task of temperatures in the teens, and inundated technicians are hard to find at 2 am when your heat goes out. Those who resort to space heaters or open ovens are vulnerable to, and often victims of, fires.
“There is not one object in nature untouched by man that is not beautiful.”
Fortunately, I was among those southerners who were not impacted by the issues surrounding the storm. My heat stayed on as did my power, and my I-phone performed admirably. I had no need to be on the road, nor did I mind cancelling any of my scheduled appointments. Our weathermen had been unusually accurate and we were for the most part well-prepared when Leon hit. We were lucky that unlike Atlanta, Leon arrived in our area during the evening hours when most of us were already off the roads and safe at home.
“Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.”
The morning after the storm brought an eerie quiet to our little island and for those of us foolish enough to brave the elements, a unique shooting opportunity. Bundling up and heading out to capture Leon’s impact was challenging but amazing. The dunes and grasses were so beautiful that I forgot about the biting wind and the slippery slop underfoot. Truth be told, I totally enjoyed myself, although I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it!
“Let the form of an object be what it may, – light, shade and perspective will always make it beautiful.”
It’s very unusual to have real bone-chilling cold here, so the plants and flowers were completely victimized by the ice — almost as if they’d been cryogenically preserved. Golden grasses were locked inside their icicles, glistening beautifully but frightfully fragile, breaking at the slightest touch. A thin layer of ice topped the lagoons, challenging the egrets and herons with a bizarre blast of bitterness seldom seen in the south.
“Great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object.”
The macro world was every bit as lovely as the micro. Golf fairways, normally lush and green even through winter, were covered with a light dusting of snow. One can only hope that they, like the plants that surround them, are able to recover once our more typical warmth returns.
“The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it become, and ironically, the more real.”
One of the most amazing things to me was the way the ice formed in the shape of drips from the leaves of the plants. How cold does it have to be for moving water to freeze???
“Be still with yourself until the object of your attention affirms your presence.”
In closing, it wouldn’t be the south if I didn’t report on the state of our iconic palms. Here’s a look at how they fared in the storm.
“I search for the realness, the real feeling of a subject….I want to come alive with the object.”
“No object is mysterious. The mystery is your eye.”
Despite his best attempts, Winter Storm Leon has failed in his efforts to dampen my enthusiasm for the wonders of winter, on the important condition that it is short-lived. For the most part, the native plants will recover – proving the wisdom of landscaping with them in the first place. My thoughts go out to those of you facing a long winter ahead….and speaking of the amount of winter that actually remains – tomorow is Groundhog Day so good luck everyone!
Click here to see the objects studied by some other bloggers.