Driving south on the New Jersey Turnpike with Wilco in the CD player, I became aware that visually, Winter has begun to dominate the landscape. The remains of Autumn have become more and more vestigial. Like most such observations, this one led on to another.
There in the heart of some of the worst of the country’s post-industrial mess, the NJ Turnpike driving south between Exits Twelve and Four, I discovered that the late-November weeds, shrubs and trees flanking the highway were simply gorgeous. The season’s first really hard freeze has yet to occur and the muted colors of the foliage, now fading to near monochromatic browns, are still infinitely varied. The seemingly random arrangements of different species of grasses, plants and trees combine in a natural architecture, offering surprising and beautiful configurations of shapes and values.
All of the above emerged at seventy-miles-an-hour, amid the eighteen-wheelers, clots and breaks of traffic and hidden within an overall surrounding environment of sprawl and clutter. Hmmm.