Winter on the Madrona Marsh Preserve is dictated by the rains. The Southern California rainy season usually starts in late November and lasts through March, filling the marsh lowlands with its seasonally characteristic vernal pools. This makes March, sitting as it does on the cusp of spring, the beginning of new cycle of life in the wettest time of the year. The particular day in March when these images were taken (2013) was not during a particularly wet winter, but there was a good quantity of water collected in the tules and in the willows section, especially in the little hollows, across much of the marsh. That day was in many ways a typical walk on the land, although, for those who spend time on the Preserve, the idea of a “typical” day is an interesting notion because things are constantly in process. There is often a sense of the duality of time suspended and of continual change.
Within these two constants I often find magic at work on the Preserve. This is not the exotic kind of magic of movie sorcerers or magicians, but the mundane variety that comprise everyday wonders. It is the magic of the variety of birds on the land and their many different songs, in the stages of leaf growth and flowering and fruiting of the trees, the amazing chatter of the Pacific tree frogs, the parade and scurrying of ants, bees, butterflies, chittering of insects, the curiosity of dragonflies zipping by, the grace, presence and personalities of the wildflowers and grasses, and the magic unseen in the dark pools of water in winter that reflect everything off a profound black surface. This is the deep kind of magic that sneaks up and surprises with small whispers if you allow yourself to breathe, be still and listen. And there is always the interplay of light and life.
The five images in this exhibit offer an opportunity to sense the timelessness of time I experienced on that one day in March. These images, taken in the willow section of the pools of water are windows that look at the past and present and hint at the future. In the image one can see layers of activity: the spiky pollen and flowers that sit on the surface; the still bare branches and sky reflected on the surface of the water; the leaves from the previous year under the water that have yet to decompose; the branches fallen and slowly decomposing; and the deep dark underlayer of humus. The images are also an experiment in materials (fabric) and process (dye sublimation) in trying to capture some of the sense of flow in the essence and the magic of life within the Preserve.