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MendoMoments: A Darkened Sky, A Quiet Home, A Leafless Sycamore

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A home on Ukiah’s Joseph Street illuminated by a street light [Picture provided by Jesse James]

Ukiah resident Jesse James was walking his dog on Joseph Street around 8:30 p.m and was struck by a home he passed by.

The sodium-gas street light threw a yellow glow on the house’s facade and illuminated the denuded figure of sycamore with its branches raised high.

The home’s trash bins stood almost equidistant to each other and the whole scene looked like its contrast setting had been turned to maximum. The shadows were black juxtaposed to the vividness of the areas exposed to the light.

A darkened sky loomed on the distant horizon.

The sight gave James both “an ominous vibe, and a comfortable, vague familiarity.” For a moment, James felt as if he was in a painting he had created in his “darker days searching for hope.” At that moment, James said he felt both a certain “beauty and an eerie uncertainty.”

In art, there exists the concept of Liminal Space. ‘Limen’- Latin for “threshold.” A place or point of entering, crossing over, marking the beginning. Often used to describe an aesthetic that feels frozen in time, almost caught between two moments.

For many, today marks the beginning of the end. The Winter Solstice. The Longest Night. Winter’s temporary death has quieted the land, halted growth, and chilled our roots.

Tomorrow, the day will be longer. And the next day, even longer. The sun’s reemergence will be exponential until June’s Summer Solstice. Time will repeat itself and the end will start once again.

And now, Emily Dickinson’s “The Sky is Low, The Clouds are Mean”:

The sky is low, the clouds are mean,
A travelling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.

A narrow wind complains all day
How some one treated him;
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
Without her diadem.

MendoMoments, is dedicated to showcasing the land, animals, and people that make up Mendocino County. All Mendocino County residents and visitors are invited to participate. Send photographs to matthewplafever@gmail.com including a description of what your photograph depicts, where it was taken, and any other important details.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
Educator🔸Reporter for KMUD/ Redheaded Blackbelt/Founder of Cold Case Mendocino🔹Local News Junkie

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