Beauty without color

Inside Norfolk International Airport, Virginia, January 2014

Inside Norfolk International Airport, Virginia, January 2014

“Beauty without color seems somehow to belong to another world.”
Murasaki Shikibu

Walking through the Norfolk airport recently, I looked to my left and saw the scene pictured above.  Though most of the snow had melted, I thought at first it was a tree that was somehow still covered in snow.  However, on looking more closely, I saw it was only the natural color of the tree itself.  It was so striking, I had to stop and take a photo.  I hope the couple in the photo realized the tree, not they, prompted my curiosity!

When I saw Shikibu’s quote, I realized why the winter landscapes can be so arresting.  I doubt that any of us will regret to see the spring that will be coming soon, but I must admit I have rather enjoyed the beautiful aspects of a winter with so much snow.

If you’ve been able to take any photos in the snow, this year or any time, feel free to send them along (or post links to them online) and share the otherworldly beauty of the winter that has now almost passed.  Here’s a lovely photo taken by my nephew Andy, a gifted photographer, who captured this snow scene in northern Alabama just ten days ago.

Andy's snow picture 2-13-14

One year ago today:

The unceasing effort


  1. Beautiful indeed. It is humidity which freezes trees. We live beside the huge lake and this phenomenon occurs every now and then.

    • That makes sense, since the Norfolk airport is located so near to the ocean. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like it before. I’m glad they had the big window. Thanks for visiting and for your comment!

  2. HarryS

    🙂 Thank God for artists like you! 🙂

    • Thank you Harry, I am flattered to be called an artist! I appreciate your visits here, and your comments.

  3. raynard

    Julia, my finger just took a picture”of the former dirty snow. It looked like”a finger but some older lady she knows”had a senior moment” and “didn’t say it looked like tuna sandwiches.. It was almost 60 degrees yesterday and judging by all the cops I seen on the road, they knew it too.. Well the end of the week is my wedding anniversary. Looking and feeling like a cross between”The Goodyear Blimp/Michelin Tire Man&The Stay Puff Marshmellow man from “Ghostbusters” I’ll not bake a cake and stick to the smoothies in the fridge”.. Oh, buying my tickets this week for the flower show and I remember you about the pictures. be blessed

    • Raynard, our dirty snow drifts are about melted now and I’m glad to see them go. It’s supposed to turn cold again but I hope we’ve seen the last of the ice and snow. Happy Anniversary to you and your wife! re: the Michelin Tire man, that’s definitely the default place to end up at our age. Jeff and I have found that it took everything we could do just to stay in *almost* the same place were were, weight-wise. When Jeff got cancer, that extra weight turned out to be a blessing, at least in the short term, because he lost so much weight that it would have been frightening if he had not had some he could afford to lose. Like everything else, it’s a balancing act. Good luck staying away from the cakes, that’s why I can’t bake anymore. When I make cookies I eat most of the dough and I end up with only about half of what it’s supposed to make, then I eat most of those 🙂 before Jeff can get to them. BTW that Stay Puff Marshmellow Man has to be one of the funniest movie moments of all time. I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it. I love that movie!

  4. Ann

    Andy’s photograph is wonderful!

    • Thank you, Ann! He’s quite talented with the camera. My sister has a lovely framed photo of a hummingbird at her feeder that Andy took when he was still in school. I don’t think I could have managed to catch one, they dart around so quickly.

  5. What gorgeous photos. That white tree is otherworldly. I’m glad you got to take a pic.
    Your nephew is tremendously talented. What an incredible photo.

    • Thank you, Alys! I was happy I had my camera with me that day. I’m glad you like Andy’s photo! He’s a sweetheart, as well as being talented.

  6. Sheila

    Julia, the absence of color in both photos is beautiful, gives the feeling of quietness. I saw the first daffodils this weekend and was surprised that such a show of color could appear so early! We have been at Willow Tree this weekend after two months without “camping”. It’s always a good retreat for us. By the way, wondering about Matt, hope he’s doing well. I keep you close, think of y’all so often. 🙂

    • Hi Sheila, I’m so happy you have daffodils already! Ours are not blooming yet. I was wondering whether you had made it back to Willow Tree since Bill’s father died. We are still in limbo about Matt’s surgery, and getting impatient. The longer they take to decide, the more it scares us into wondering whether the risks are so high as to make it a questionable call. We’ll keep you posted. I got your sweet note tonight, thank you! It means a lot.

  7. Julia, beautiful photos. thanks for sharing them!

    • You’re welcome, Merry – thanks for being here!

  8. That’s really wonderful. It’s like looking thru the looking glass to the other side. We call it hoarfrost here. I don’t know who came up with that term but there’s a lot of images at Goggle Image.

    I see Andy has taken a page out of Aunty Julia’s book and gotten a great shot too. Look at the size of that tree too! WOW. I like how you can see the weather in the sky. I’ve tried to get that with no luck.

    Here’s a sign that made me laugh. It’s meant for park users in the summer obviously. The Lawn Bowling Club is next to the winter ice rink near our Legislature Building and it’s awesome if you live downtown. There’s always something going on there.

    • WOW, what a beautiful untouched blanket of snow. I guess people really did stay off even in the winter! Do a lot of people use it for lawn bowling in the summer? I have often wondered what it would be like to live IN the city instead of right outside it. I think there would be a lot of advantages but I don’t know if I could get used to it for the long term. I do love spending the day in town though, and seeing the parks and other sights.

      • I have seen the club bowling there, it’s pretty traditional and posh looking. They wear white clothes and caps…HA! must be some sort of British Empire hold over from the good ol’ days.

        We’re hoping to be part of a community again. One where you wave to a neighbour or stop to say hello. It’s very impersonal downtown. Everyone rushes from the car to their condo. Someone here has cleaning ladies, they’ve chatted me up a number of times when I’m out pruning and refreshing my planters, it’s like a breath of fresh air. I’m also scared to open the door to anyone. The gates are left open during the day and there’s too many weird people around. Thank goodness for the river valley park ways, we love that all summer.

        • Wow, how very patrician they all look! I had no idea such things still went on. I imagine I would be equally cautious as you are, living in the city. In fact, I am a bit leery of opening the door here too, when Jeff is not home. It’s lovely here at Halloween though, with everyone out at the same time and visiting. I think we should have block parties or something of that sort. They have an Easter Egg hunt but people without children don’t really participate. They used to have a doggie Easter Treat hunt which we loved. I really miss the way we knew all our neighbors growing up in Atlanta (East Point). I think one reason there are so many online communities now is that people miss that connection.

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