The Bare Bones of Winter
I prefer winter and
Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it,
the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t
There is a privacy
about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people
sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country,
can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.
|Houses now appear that were before half hidden|
The sunbeams are welcome now. They seem like pure electricity—like friendly and recuperating lightning. Are we led to think electricity abounds only in summer, when we see in the storm-clouds as it were, the veins and ore-beds of it? I imagine it is equally abundant in winter, and more equable and better tempered. Who ever breasted a snowstorm without being excited and exhilarated, as if this meteor had come charged with latent auroræ of the North, as doubtless it has? It is like being pelted with sparks from a battery.
~John Burroughs, "Winter Sunshine"
An article by Michael McCoy in the ABC gardening magazine Gardening Australia discusses a different kind of ‘tree beauty‘ in the wintering of trees. He talks about their ‘skeletal twigginess, offering no resistance to the chilly wind, and matching perfectly the grey of the sky. ‘
He goes on to write,
‘The praises sung of deciduous trees pertain to their autumn foliage, their lime-green spring fuzz, the dynamic of summer-shade/winter-sun they provide and even their convenient dumping of leaves in on definite period, rather than all year round as do evergreens. But right now I’m celebrating their highly distinctive bone structure…’
the supreme dignity of a leafless English oak… The silhouette of this tree is
so lovely that I’m always a bit sorry when the leaves appear.’
The shed of leaves became a cascade of red and gold and after a time the trees stood skeletal against a sky of weathered tin. The land lay bled of its colors. The nights lengthened, went darker, brightened in their clustered stars. The chilled air smelled of woodsmoke, of distances and passing time. Frost glimmered on the morning fields. Crows called across the pewter afternoons.
~James Carlos Blake, Wildwood Boys
|Leaves hang on a few trees right into spring|
'Bare Trees' was the title track from Fleetwood Mac's 1972 album. Though the song was never released as a single, the album peaked at #70 on the US Billboard 200 Album chart. The song was inspired by a poem written by an older woman who lived near the gand’s home in Southern England. ‘God bless our perfect, perfect grey day with trees so bare – so bare.’
Fracture lines cut in a bleak sky,
Stripped bare across the countryside,
Shadows of what they used to be,
Silhouetted so beautifully,
No more a haven to make a home,
Fragile looking veins are exposed,
Sun bleeds through while blindingly low,
Wood spirits are compelled to go,
A sight rooted in these cold months,
Crafted by a cruel lack of warmth,
Weather the sky gods issue forth,
Sent to the front line from the north,
But trees fear not old man winter,
His firm grip can't last forever,
Soon things will be back as they were,
Till the changes again occur.
|Emerald Village street cherry trees in winter|