Andrew Polk

Always the same and always different

Several times each day, I walk a trail with the dogs. It’s the same each day – up the incline, down through the ravine, alongside the lake, back up another ravine, then back to the house. But almost every day, there is something new.

Depending on the weather, temperature, or light, the trail can vary greatly from day to day. One morning might be overcast, cold and grey, where all is dormant and still. The next might be bright with a blinding sun reflecting across the water and through the trees; another might be ethereal where the distance is concealed through a fog that only allows nearby things to show themselves.

All of this is compounded by the seasons - each with its special set of flora, fauna, and fungi. The trees of the winter are barren, naked, and seemingly lifeless; they allow themselves to be seen, looked at and through. As the spring approaches, fungi, jonquils, and other surprises, break through the ground; herons, wood ducks, and kingfishers frequent the shallows, and wild geese return to nest and nurture newborns. As the weather warms, blossoms explode onto the scene, turtles and snakes sun themselves at lakeside, and the forest is alive with bird and insect chatter. Trees in summer shroud themselves, sky and forest are hidden, but the world is bursting with life. Finally, the autumn explodes in golden yellows, bright and deep reds, rich browns – all in infinite variations.

Life is about the endless repetitions of things in their infinite variations.