(The antler pictured here was found on this particular adventure.)
When I’m working on calendar design, I generally try to stay away from what would qualify as “tropes” in my mind and aim more for scenes and narratives that will evoke a nostalgic, hopeful, or generally positive and immediate response. Symbolism, however, takes part of its power from dallying near the dangerous trope line–at what point does the relatively universal become boring and expected?
I appreciate the notion of January as one of silence and things-pared-down, even if that’s just a description of office life for the ones-not-on-vacation. And I’m not above playing into a sense of beginning, fresh starts, starting lines and unmarked snow. One of the gifts of very distinct seasons is the way they mark time and lend themselves to projection. A snowy winter in Minnesota is the slate being wiped clean again and again. It’s all new and sparkling! The falling snow literally cleans the air. In December we’re all worked up and into societal excess and debauchery, as family-friendly as those may be, but come January, it’s hard not to appreciate the stark and simple. And winter provides. You’ve got black and white and refracted light and heavy shadows, bare trees and bright snow, icicles and falling snow. Hell, daylight that doesn’t even break through the atmosphere with enough strength for vitamin D (take your vitamins, people!) and long nights where the light emanates from everywhere when the moon is full and reflecting off new snow. In January, we’re back in the lengthening-days swing of things. There are mutterings of new beginnings and reflective solitude somewhere in there.
This month came easily; in the previous December, I introduced grayscale into the calendar, after a few years of limiting myself to purely black-and-white images. One of the reasons for that was this image in my head, of a simple forest* fading into infinity, of the meditation of movement in stillness and human silence.
* Please accept the apparent single-age monoculture as artistic license and perhaps with an implied narrative of regrowth after a forest fire, not a tacit endorsement of single-species plantations!