Signs of spring are all around, and we are rejoicing in the return of the light.  It’s the trigger for so many welcome seasonal changes.  The Alaska art print “Spring Green” celebrates one of my favorite effects, sunbeams hitting the fresh new baby green leaves of the cottonwoods, giving new meaning to the concept of streaming! … or maybe reminding us of a meaning older than time…

The paths of the sun and moon are in the process of switching places… as of course they are at any time during the year except for the two solstices, when all celestial bodies seem to stand still for just a moment before beginning their swing back in the opposite direction.  But now, what is evident in the night sky is the path of the moon moving south and riding lower in the sky.  During daylight hours, the sun is moving north, climbing higher and higher and gracing us with its light and warmth for longer and longer each day.

It is indeed marvelous to behold, and all the meadow and forest friends are responding with vigor and new life.  Green shoots are finding their way through the thick brown dead grasses we’ve been looking at for months out in the meadow.  Spruce branch tips swell and glow with a golden light.  Tiny shooting stars are blooming purple underfoot; I see the first foliage of chocolate lilies coming up early, before the grasses get so tall they shade them out.  Cottonwood leaf buds are shedding their sticky scales to the ground, where we pick them up on our shoes and paws, carrying them and their sweet scent into the house after walks.  The leaves grow by leaps and bounds at this stage, so it’s a special event to get a sunny day when they are at their most fluorescent beautiful green.

Migrating cranes, geese and shorebirds are happy to see the green shoots as they fuel up to continue their journeys north.  We are treated daily with sightings of greater white fronted geese with their bright orange legs and squeaky calls, and flocks of sandpipers pecking at the river sandbank when the tide is out.  Swallows swoop over the river in a crazy dance to scoop up newly hatching bugs.  A northern harrier hawk takes advantage of the short meadow grasses to hunt for voles less securely hidden than they will be later in the season.

Out on a scouting mission with my camera, I look up to find the cottonwood grove by the old cabin at that liminal stage and the sun backlighting those new leaves at just the right angle.  Back in my studio, I search for the filter that will give each leaf its own splash of brilliance, the spruces behind becoming the dark backdrop to set them off.  The trees’ trunks rise straight and true to border the image on one side while the branches spray off to the left.  I’m pleased with the composition and the snapshot of time captured by the new leaves bursting with lifeforce.  Light streams and life blooms, all in good time.

Brilliant, colorful Alaska artwork by Gustavus artist Lillian Ruedrich.  Click here to see the entire collection of Alaska landscape art notecards and prints from Scenes From Home.