“A Certain Slant of Light” (thank you, Emily Dickinson)


It’s been a lovely and lengthy fall here in the Blue Ridge—the leaves are just now beginning to surrender to the inevitable.  So perhaps you’re wondering why I haven’t posted the obligatory mountain autumn splendor shot that is the responsibility of every mountain blogger. 🙂 

Well, for one thing, it’s been a busy fall at the Blue Ridge Blue Collar doublewide estate.  We haven’t had a chance lately to make it up to the Blue Ridge Parkway or any other of our usual favorite hiking spots.  And the truth is, although I’ve taken a number of shots in my community, I haven’t felt as though a single one did autumn justice.  So often I fail to convey in my photos what I actually see.  How do I capture the purity and holiness of the light this time of year?  How do I communicate to you that the way the light shone through the golden leaves made me catch my breath? 

Last week, we had a couple of those days where the clouds tumble swiftly across the azure sky, and cloud shadows and light play across the hills and the light swirls and sweeps across the red, yellow, and orange ridges of the blue mountains, and it’s all so beautiful that you feel like crying.  And how can you capture that?

Nevertheless, there’s something to be said for just the effort of trying to share a bit of my world, even when I feel I’ve fallen short.  So this is my closest approximation of what I saw as I walked down my driveway as the sun set, and the golden light broke through the overcast and illuminated the valley and the trees and left the mountains, who usually dominate the show, in darkness.  And it pricked my heart and made me catch my breath.  I wish you could have been here.  But since you weren’t, I hope this suffices.  




17 Responses to ““A Certain Slant of Light” (thank you, Emily Dickinson)”

  1. marion Says:

    Beautiful! We are not high enough to capture such a vista, and recent winds tore leaves from our trees surrounding our long driveway, yet we too catch glimpses of the molten beauty fall brings to the BlueRidge Mountains. And you stop and sigh…

  2. Pat Says:

    The pictures and your words are beautiful…as always. Your view indeed takes ones breath away. I love our lot but it’s more wooded and although the view peeks through, it’s not like your vista.

  3. luckypennies Says:

    I wish I could have been there too! Your photos are stunning and do indeed make me catch my breath. I can’t wait to see y’all and the lovely mountains this Thanksgiving.

  4. pticester Says:

    Thank you for posting the beautiful photos. Here in the city, we don’t have the beautiful views like that. Makes me remember living in the country in my younger days.

  5. Judy Says:

    Your photos always remind me of my days in the country, too, Beth and I love seeing them and remembering. Although, I don’t think I ever saw a view like the one you have from your porch. You are so lucky to be where you are with all the beauty of the mountains to behold.

  6. Margie Miller Says:

    Those pictures are breathtaking!!

  7. eemilla Says:

    My favorite of this set is the one with the fence in foreground; I empathize about the difficulty of portraying the achingly subtle and beautiful changes in light; it just reminds me that we have to take the time to enjoy the sunrise and/or sunset just as much as we need to enjoy the smell of roses or freshly baked goods cooling on the counter (although my waistline indicates I always stop for the freshly baked goods).

  8. June Says:

    These are plenty good…but I know exactly what you mean. Of all, landscapes are the hardest for me. As you said, they seldom convey a scene as I remember seeing it. I so admire photographers who can capture it. By the way, your autumn seems to be lasting a lot longer than ours. We’re not that far north of you (I think) and yet our color is pretty much over. In fact, our leaves are going fast.

  9. Jeff Says:

    Yes, the feeling that you are trying to capture is really tough to accomplish. I see a quality of light here in South Florida sometimes that I have no idea how to capture. I marvel at those who try to do so. The Hudson River school of painters tried hard to capture light, as did Lyonel Feininger. But it is a tough task! I was astonished to see the colorful show a week ago when I was in Asheville. It’s only about 150 miles (as the crow flies) south of Floyd, but, as June said, the colors in Floyd are over. Another light phenomenon that is tricky to capture is moonlight – on a full moon here, there are some wonderful sights to observe. Or how about ground fog? So many challenges!! So much beauty and awe to experience!

  10. wesleyjeanne Says:

    It has been a beautiful fall. I’ve been missing my good camera and wishing I could capture that light.

    You’ve not only captured it in your lovely photos, but in your lovely words.

  11. CountryDew Says:

    These are lovely shots! Breathtaking, even. Very nice.

  12. Benjamin Says:

    Thank you as always.

    Beauty and grace are in this place
    fall’s unfurled in our half of the world
    Though light’s touch can’t be reproduced
    your shots bring thoughts of spirits loosed

    Through the wear of time it is still sublime
    what moth and rust can’t turn to dust
    Renews each season–turns to green
    Each dull feather returns to sheen

    Words can’t say what photos may
    I try to reply, but then I just sigh
    And smile at the beauty that fills this site
    Be happy! You made me happy tonight!

  13. Linda H Says:

    Ooooh, wow! Beautiful! Thank you for those photos–even though you feel they are inadequate. But still…they bring joy to me and remind me of those other breath-catching times that I have viewed the colors and long views and sunsets from the Blue Ridge and other places at other times. Autumn memories. Huh! –in the autumn of my life! Yikes!

  14. Clara Melvin Says:

    Beth, your words describe the beauty as well as any I have ever read! God has given you a talent to do that very thing! Thanks for the beautiful photos and for the words. I wish I could have been there too!!

  15. colleen Says:

    Worth the wait, but I know what you mean, it’s almost not translatable.

  16. colleen Says:

    PS I should have named my last Bryce post “The Apple of My Eye!”

  17. Lisa Says:

    I love this post. Do you know the Dar Williams song “After All?” It includes these words, which I thought of immediately when I read your words:

    “Well, the sun rose with so many colors it nearly broke my heart/ It worked me over like a work of art/ And I was a part of all that…”

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