“March Is the Cruelest Month”

Posted on Apr, Mon, 2020 in Landscapes, Musings from Still Point

“Early Blush of Spring”

* This was an earlier Facebook post (Dec., 2019) that I felt warranted inclusion on our blog in the spirit of spring.  My hopes for an early spring in Ohio were premature.  As of today, April 13, there are few signs of flowering abundance save the random tulip trees and the blush of green and tinges of red on the landscape. The following then is a repost of my earlier December description.  Be safe in the days ahead!

“March is the Cruelest Month” (apologies to T.S. Eliot)

After a series of black and white, (“bleak is beautiful”) photographs this past week, I’m hoping to redeem myself with the promise of an early spring as had occurred at the time this photo was taken above the Chagrin river. The spring tease pictured here came in March, 2012 with the transformation of the winter landscape as average daily highs exceeded 60°, an all time record. The month included four days in the 80°’s and seven in the 70°’s and was 18° higher on average than normal.

The crabapple, in its premature cloak of green (foreground), had dropped its blossoms days earlier, and the flowering cherry trees punctuated the landscape as sycamores stood erect and bare among oaks and black willows, an early mantle of color spreading across the latter.

April that year returned to normal with a succession of frosts and temperatures below freezing proving March, not April,
the cruelest month of the year.

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Posted on Mar, Sat, 2020 in Landscapes, Musings from Still Point, Uncategorized


A trip to Mentor Headlands last Wednesday afternoon yielded an unexpected gift of the landscape. The beach east of the Headlands has transformed since my last visit over twenty-five years ago. Low dunes have developed as a root system of switch grass has created a carpet for sand to collect.

Rolling, richly textured fields of switch grass bend in the wind, catching light and emotion. It reminded me of the Portuguese word “saudade”, one about which I’ve written previously and one which many Americans may not recognize. It really has no simple direct English translation. Briefly (and incompletely), saudade is a deep melancholic, emotional state of yearning for a loved one, a lost relationship, a place or even a time. What distinguishes saudade from singular emotions is its ambivalence, the dimension of melancholy and happiness at once. I think it may be the perfect word for the emotions that sweep this nation. We, many of us, long for the recent past, one that now seems distant and possibly never the same, never attainable. The lighthouse (Fairport Harbor) just over the horizon is leading us metaphorically, paradoxically, back to the light.

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“Pastels, Schweitzer Marsh”

Posted on Mar, Thu, 2020 in Landscapes, Musings from Still Point, Uncategorized

“Pastels, Schweitzer Marsh”

“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them.” John Ruskin

I love this quote by John Ruskin, the great Victorian critic of the arts. His compelling observation has resonated with me over the years as I’ve spent much time trying to see and photograph the intrinsic beauty of the landscape. It should come as no surprise that he was a great admirer of William (JMW) Turner, especially his luminous paintings of the sea and other natural settings.

This image, taken at sunrise in early May, reminds me of Turner’s use of color and his remarkable ability to see the sublime.

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“Still Point”

Posted on Jan, Tue, 2020 in Gallery Image, Landscapes, Musings from Still Point, Uncategorized

“Still Point”  16″x24″   Collector’s Edition of 10     C.G. Baker, 2020     

Is there anyone who hasn’t tired of the myriad reed and grass photos, most composed in early morning mist or afternoon fog? As a child, over 60 years ago, I recall a black and white photo from “Life” magazine featuring reeds reflecting on a smooth lake. With my mother’s hand-me-down camera I wasted lots of film and her patience trying to replicate that image in a neighbor’s pond. Amateurish would be a very generous description of those photos. Ever since, I’ve shied away from the reed pictures that have seduced infinite photographers and generated infinite images. The few I’ve attempted have been unoriginal at best.

With that preamble I succumbed to temptation this afternoon when I spotted this array of marsh grass at the far end of Schweitzer’s marsh. Today’s fog diffused the light making for ideal conditions to capture the subtlety of color. It also provided the unlikely possibility of finding something new in a hackneyed subject. A small, single reed in the foreground adds dimension and lends perspective. This image draws my attention for some reason – the geometry possibly but as much the color transitions from reflections on the surface.

See what you think. It may be nothing more than the addled effects of the years on me.

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“Toward Heaven Still”

Posted on Jan, Wed, 2020 in Black & White, Landscapes, Musings from Still Point, Musings from Still Point

“Toward Heaven Still”

In a couple of his poems (“After Apple Picking and “Birches”), Robert Frost invoked both imagery and metaphor through the phrase, “toward heaven” and “toward heaven still.” I’ve often thought this towering pin oak, anchored in less than three feet of water at the north end of Schweitzer marsh, was “pointed toward heaven still”; ascending from its base, reaching into the firmament. Exploring the marsh and the beech groves as young boys of ten or eleven, my friends and I could always spot this tree above the others and orient ourselves. The pin oaks were already dead and ghostly by the late 50’s, almost seventy years ago, yet the grove “still” stands. More than I can say for myself at times.




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“Like to the blackbird at break of day arising”

Posted on Dec, Tue, 2019 in Gallery Image, Landscapes, Musings from Still Point, Musings from Still Point

“Like to the blackbird at break of day arising … “

The title, inspired and only slightly corrupted, was appropriated from a line in Shakespeare’s 29th sonnet. This is a companion to the April marsh image I posted three days ago. The sun, still diffused by early mist, was only about twenty minutes above the horizon. Returning from its winter migration, a redwing blackbird posed atop an pin oak remnant.

A subtle reminder we have only three months to go.

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