The Principal Person in the Picture

“The principle person in a picture is light,” said the French painter Edouard Manet. I learned to love the light when I lived in Minneapolis. After work I used to walk the three or so miles around Lake of the Isles. In two years of living in the same neighborhood, I learned the rhythm of the seasons and how the light changed with each. Winter was my favorite; just before sunset, around four o’clock in the afternoon, the light slanted from a rose-gold sky across the snow, the trees casting indigo shadows across the drifts. As an art history student, I loved the French Impressionists; because of this light, I finally understood them and have been fascinated ever since.

Despite that it means getting out of the warm nest of my bed, I like early mornings because of the way the light slants off windows and plants, making the windows shine and dew sparkle. Especially when I travel, if I don’t wake early, I feel like I’m missing something. You learn a lot about a place by watching people get ready for the day.

The arboretum surrounding Cummins’ main office downtown is overgrown with vines. It runs parallel to the sidewalk and has a path made of slate squares set into the grass.

Before moving in Columbus, I had never seen a moonflower. The name moonflower alone is beautiful; it’s something ethereal yet constant, waxing and waning with the time of day, perhaps the temperature, and the season. I took this photo late the other morning. It was the first time I had ever seen one up close.

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One thought on “The Principal Person in the Picture

  1. Pingback: Our personal mountain range « Someone told me there'd be wild things.

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