BOOK LOOK by Patrick Ryan
The new year in Anchorage has started off with some foggy days, making the city and the trees look very magical. Due to just-right weather conditions, this “hoarfrost” is coating forest and fences with tiny ice crystals.
According to the National Weather Service office in Riverton, Wyoming, the Old English dictionary (c. 1290) defines hoarfrost as “expressing the resemblance of white feathers of frost to an old man’s beard.” Here’s a more detailed explanation for those who need to know:
For now, let’s just enjoy this gift of Winter by remembering a good book, Fox’s Dream, by Keizaburō Tejima. Tejima is a Japanese artist and children’s picture book author and illustrator. His art technique is woodblock. According to an article called The Elemental Art of Keizaburo Tejima by Gary D. Schmidt, “Tejima uses a tinted wood block technique, which he sometimes supplements with brushed on paint. This traditional Japanese form allows for a good deal of texture in solid blocks of color, as well as very strong, bold lines.” Read more about Tejima here: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/244479
In the book, a lonely fox has a different way of viewing the Winter landscape. His visions reminded me of the wintry world we are now seeing in Alaska.
Tejima’s books include: Swan sky, Owl Lake, The Bears’ Autumn, Woodpecker Forest, and Ho-limlim, as well as Fox’s Dream. If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher or a lover of picture books and art, I’m sure you will enjoy perusing Tejima’s body of work.
I hope you will bundle up, get a camera, and take a walk to enjoy this fragile wonder of Nature, because it won’t last long!
And finally, a word from Carl Sandburg:
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Patrick Ryan is the Education Specialist for the Alaska Botanical Garden and a retired first-grade teacher. He used music, poetry and literature to teach many subjects, and has a fondness for children’s literature and picture books.