Today I must render into photography the concept of “warmth.” The underlying message is, of course, “painting with light.” Without light, angles, and placement, no photograph has a chance of achieving anything more than a snapshot of a brief moment in time. Of course, the sample photograph that came with the assignment portrays something majestic, a dome inside the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul. It’s hard to compete with that! Especially on the day the Arctic Express chugs into southwest Virginia. Gray skies and frigid air promise snow and freezing cold, hardly the stuff to evoke a sense of “warmth.”

But when I dragged out those fresh cranberries from my refrigerator, I knew what my subject would be. Once I make cranberry sauce, cloaked with the spices that reveal medieval antecedents – cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg – my kitchen becomes a cocoon of warmth, the aroma as soothing as a hug from my grandmother.

Cranberries cefex rs
Cranberries, the All-American Fruit (Credit: C. Bertelsen)

© 2014 C. Bertelsen

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