Scarlett Sumac's Blog

JANUARY 18, 2011 7:00PM

All She Wrote

Rate: 32 Flag

young vines

Maybe it's the sight of what's here and what's not that reminds me of summertime when a chlorophyll rich canopy of lush grapevines dot the landscape.

Maybe it is the recent research I’ve done into the weather that has informed me that we get a daily average of 2.5 hours of sunlight at this time of year.

Maybe it is the knowledge that I gave my S.A.D. light to my darling daughter and the adapter has disappeared.

Maybe it’s the work I've been putting off until I couldn't anymore.

Maybe these things have kept me away from writing anything even though I wanted to.

I did consider writing a post on how the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council banned the playing of Dire Straits’ song, Money For Nothing but I lost my passion on that. If people can’t tell satirizing and cultural commentary then I guess I’ll miss hearing that song on classic rock radio while driving and watch it here on YouTube instead.

Maybe it’s that I am finally feeling well after that misdiagnosed sinus infection turned out to be an undetected abscessed tooth putting me through worse agony than childbirth. Add to that three plus weeks of antibiotics left my wine glass virtually empty. Yes, I cheated and drank on New Year’s Eve.

And now that root canal is finally done, I can rest assured that the only pain I have in that regard is the $1,065 bill from my dentist.

Finally, it feels that my personal New Year is beginning!

So, I played a bit of hooky yesterday, went outside (it was only -10) on a rare sunny January day and snapped a few shots.

Driving back I had the awareness the quality of light is changing. If only minute-by-minute, it is staying lighter longer. And well, if our winter started in November, it’s nearly half over. Hopefully.

And that maybe in the dead of winter when the fruit trees that once hung heavy with apricots, peaches and pears stand bare, their stark beauty is a reminder that nature is ever at work.

              fruit  trees

 Orchards in Niagara

                                    all in a row

                                  between the rows

Though a bit blurry this one below (taken through a window) spoke to me for obvious reasons. 

It also reminded me that despite appearances and feeling productive only under the pressure of deadlines that maybe I am transforming too. 

Perhaps beneath this skin, I am in a gestation period of sorts.

                              sumac in winter   

    (sumac through the window)


Coming home I decided to indulge in a little habit developed over the years. Taking my own slant on Carl Jung’s ideas of synchronicity I randomly choose a book or dictionary and let it fall open, reading the first words I see. I hold the notion (maybe delusionally so), that in the chaos of the universe there might be a personal message for me.

I picked up a beautiful hardcover book by Jill Krementz, called The Writer’s Desk. It fell open to page 96 showing a fabulous photo of Tennessee Williams standing over his typewriter reaching for a wine glass. Beside it were Williams' words.

“I have my coffee and ruminate on what I’m going to work on. I go to my studio and usually have some wine there. And then I carefully go over what I’ve written the day before. You see, baby, after a glass or two of wine I’m inclined to extravagance, ... so I’ll use a blue pencil a lot the next day. Then I sit down and begin to write." 

I'm taking this as a sign. Maybe now a spell of creativity will unfold and flow like the long-awaited wine in my glass.

I’ll drink to that.


***  © Scarlett Sumac. 2011. Words and photos.




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If only minute-by-minute~
Scarlett! Such beautiful photos, thank you. I'm glad you are feeling better. May your words and wine flow. May you have your pinot sans the heartbreak.
I so love these makes me want to paint them.
Cheers and thank you for the lovely photos, I love the stark richness of winter photography.
these pictures are surreal, beautifully so, almost handpainted
words will always come
Scarlett.. They banned that song? Are you kidding me?
I loved the pictures and words and am glad that you are getting better.
The bill - not so much.:(
Rated with hugs
catch: Ha! No Pinot here for me but I'll find something. Ah yes, Australian Shiraz!

Sheila: Your artist's eye. If I could only capture a quarter of the beauty of some of those trees. Snow was on the side of the road and I couldn't pull off to capture the gnarly older trees. They look like Vincent's in Arles. I will one day!

Rita: Maybe we mirror nature's journey in winter. At least I'm hoping I'll bear fruit in Spring!:)

vanessa: Thanks for your thoughts including the vote of confidence.
Wow. Red Sumac. If the Moon was a wee-bit beaming brighter - I'd be able to see`

Scarlet Sumac's in bunches
There's Red Scarlet Sumac.
Sumac clusters off a porch.

It grows just to the left front.
I hate not many things much.
hick lingo`
I love real`
rural folks`
Nature's kin.
Memory. sigh.
Boys on yellow school busses`
Should not discuss millionaire`
Nay - duh.
Nor mention any menstruation`
Use yard sale toaster for cheese`
Politicos on yellow bus go to DC.
Try Feta cheese in your toasters.
Stew peace, plum, red raspberry,
peach, and enjoy melancholy era.

Saturn pulls folks inward/outs.
Stroll via winter bare-leaf trees.
Go on melancholy garden walks.
Happiness is written on greenery.
Pick up a greenish dormant twig.
It's dormant. Sap is blood-plasm.
Life forces heal, are antibacterial,
and keep heart and blood purified.
turn off.
Ay stricken.
It was healthy.
Doldrums now`
Song burst forth`
Melancholy times`
I love blues kinda`
happy when gone.
Enjoy introversion.
Watch Moon birdies.
Way too much chatty?
It was a wild beam day.
Sip Echinacea tisanes.

Red Rose Bead teas.
Rose Hip for Vigor.
Vim and Vigor Teas.

Scarlet Sumac` Loves Heritages.
That red berry bears a red fruits.
Spill red wine on Ya white blouse.

If cops ask what's that? Beet it cop!
Tell lawyer in court it Red cat sups!
Ya can say lil' white fibs. Tomatoes!
Tell judge it's drool from red beans!
Tell Sarah it's Butcher Moose blood!
joy too
You should get writers block more often. This was a great post with excellent writing!
Gorgeous photographs and wise words. A lovely and oh-so-relatable post, dear Scarlett. "Perhaps beneath this skin, I am in a gestation period of sorts." Perfect.~r
I really liked this and not only because it sums up what's been going on in my head lately too minus the abscess. I'm not only going to buy that book for Williams' creative editing tips, I'm going to do the same experiment myself. A creative boost is definitely in order.
Linda: Yes they did. MK wrote those lyrics verbatim from an overheard conversation in an appliance store.

Art: Thank You for your epic poem here. I will remember not to mention menstruation. Ha! Spill wine on white blouse needs special stain remover! I will be reading this over and over. "Beet it cops!"

I don't mind the blues
either sometimes
serves useful porpoise!

scanner: I don't know what that says about me when I'm not blocked. SShhh, no comments! ;)
I miss the beauty of the Niagra Escarpment and am so happy to see these beautiful pictures of it Scarlett. I think the wind is blowing much needed change your way. Open the window and let it blow into your heart.
Loved this post dear.
I am fucking bookmarking this to read every day until Spring...seriously, you made my soul wake up. You are that amazing. Thank you!
Joan: I think, that is, I know we are on the same wave length. Now if I could only find that adapter. ;)

Emma: Thanks for the read. These January days in low light take their toll. Good luck with your creative boost. Though from what I've read of your writing, it stands on its own, as is. Btw, that book is published by Random House. 1996.

Mission: Yes, that one of the sumac though the window looks over a part of the escarpment. Thanks, I will take your advice and open the windows (on a warmer night). Though I just looked out and there is a full moon!

aim: Wow, I think you wake up your own soul. Going over to your place and I'm bringing the wine. xo
I aimed to make the window symbolic Scarlett. Sorry that was not clear.
Sounds to me like your flow of creativity has already started flowing, Scarlett. The last photo is particularly precious, as is your reflective writing. I'm glad the troubles are over - I had a root canal once too.
Cheers to you and longer days !
@ Mission: I'll try it both ways!
Your photos are magnificent and your words match. This was a beautiful post and I'll sip a little wine to celebrate new year beginning. rated with a little California sunshine.
For those of us who live in the south we can't really appreciate a real winter and winter nights -- hoping the abscess is long gone and the antibiotics healed and left you free...
Drinking a glass of Shiraz to you as I type Scarlett. Glad you're over the abscess and rounding back into form.
a fascinating ramble through the snowy orchards, your bookshelves and even your very interesting thoughts, miss scarlett. i love the idea of writing extravagantly and then getting out the blue pencil. that's a familiar song. i think the thaw is coming. ;)
if this is what you come up with when you feel unproductive... !
We've been living parallel lives with the SAD and the root canal. But I too see the days lengthening, and so let's toast that even as we appreciate the beauty in the time and land of hibernation. (r)
These photos are so gorgeous. I love the sun on snow, and I remember Scarlett Sumac when I was a kid in central NY, but didn't know what it was called. We would play house outside and pretend it was food of some kind (we never ate it though).

I feel for you on the teeth and the expense business, have one coming up myself, but it's not infected or abscessed, thank heaven.

And Money for Nothin? What's that all about, not the song, I mean, the ban. KARRAZZZEEE.

Still it sounds like you made the most of your day. Great pics.
Beautiful photographs, grand post.
you should play hooky more often; those are some wonderful pictures. creative blocks have tides... yours is turning.
Writer to the Stars wrote about an abscess tooth today; hope it's not going around. I'll buy the coffee then wine routine. Nice pics.
I find it hard to imagine such short days. Beautiful fotos. Feel better, stay better.
Scarlett, this is superb! Glad you better; know how you feel about SAD (me, too -- prevents me from writing anything but a post-it note to renew my prescriptions); and love the hope at the end. I needed to read this. So, thanks.

and rated for the photos and all of the above. :)
Cheers Scarlett! There is something so beautiful about a vineyard in the Wintertime. Lovely photos.
lovely pics
hope you are feeling better
Scenes like this clear the mind. Or at least for me. Thank you for sharing.
I'll take another sip of coffee to that! Your photos and rumination are delightful.
Fusun: Thanks, we'll see!

Rosycheeks: thanks the californication is appreciated. ;)

marty'shusband: yup, all better, I think ...

Abrawang: Gotta love the Shiraz, even the name rolls of the tongue.

forte: Thaw you say? The time couldn't be better, ms femme.;)

dirndl: I'm not really, really SAD but I find a blast from the light helps (or did when I had the adapter). Yes, let's toast to the days getting longer and the light getting brighter.

latethink: I never used to know what it was called either even though I've been surrounded by it all my life. A couple of years ago an especially bright bush caught my eye. It's there feeding the birds in the winter too.

chuck: I always feel like playing hooky. ;)

Damon: Yes, it must be going around. Ouch! Well, if it worked for Williams ...

Scylla: You are grand.

garenia: the days aren't 2.5 hours just the sunlight, thanks.

muder: From what I've read your doing just fine but I do understand. Post-it notes come in handy for the forgetfulness. ;) Sleep and more sleep seems like such a good activity this time of year.

Fay: Nature's contrasts so startling ...

brianb: how are things in thunder bay? bet there are some stark photos there.:)

matt: Coffee, but no wine this time of morning, sounds good. I'm gonna grab one too.
scupper: yes the fresh clean snow clears the mind, especially on sunny days.
Scarlett, your beautiful photos could almost make me appreciate winter. I love the way you manage to connect your excuses for putting off writing to the way winter feels, that slowed down, expectant feeling that everything would be better if it were warm. Yet in the end you find the magic in the moment and the result is this gorgeous post. And that thing you do with books? I've been doing it for years. It's better than Ouija board, isn't it?
Quite the (deserved) response here, SS. Don't know the story behind "Money for Nothing" being banned in its entirety, but I do know some Detroit radio stations removed the offending verse for airplay back in the day. We have it on vinyl and CD, so can play it whenever.

Meanwhile, I'm glad your mouth is feeling better and that your day of playing hooky lightened up the gloom of mid-winter. Salud, fellow Jungian.
To give you a glimpse into where my mind's been, when I read your line, “I have my coffee and ruminate on what I’m going to work on." I read it as "I have my coffee and urinate on what I'm going to work on." And I thought -- WOW! That's exactly what I'm feeling right now!!!
Belle: You are a kindred spirit and you made me laugh right out loud ... in January!

B1: I even had fun writing that word -- hooky. Sometimes they just think us Canadians are spelling hockey wrong when we say we're playing hooky! And yup, banned it outright for the same old reason. I'm sure you know MK wrote that verbatim from an overheard redneck conversation in an appliance store.

Margaret: Nice to meet you. Your post stayed on my mind throughout the day. It is a wonder our 'mother' tongues don't bleed considering all the time we spend biting them! Somewhere along the way I hope you got a "Thank You, Mom for always being there ..."
Rated this when it first came up but then lost my Internet for a couple of days. Carl Jung had many interesting ideas. Nothing quite as painful as a tooth deal and that doesn't include the price.
Oh, nice work . . . really nice . . . a glass of wine and writing . . . yeah, Scarlett . . . yeah . . .
How sharper than a sinus infection is the pain of an abscessed tooth. How sharper than an abscessed tooth is the pain of a dentist's bill.

How beautiful, though stark, those photographs. Enjoy your glass. Hope it stimulates!