Into the Trees

Well, it’s snowing. I suggested we begin the season over again and celebrate Christmas this upcoming weekend, but my idea was soundly kiboshed. We will continue to endure wintry weather—without gingerbread and eggnog.

It is an exasperating thing to find the flurries enchanting, even as I wish they would melt before touching ground. But they aren’t melting. In truth, the spiky green weeds I tread upon this Sunday—then free from snow to pop their little heads into the world—are no longer visible. Still, I will grant that the acres surrounding the house remain a beautiful getaway. Two days past I went further than I ever had before. Led by the eldest boy, defying the doleful sky above and the nip in the air, I journeyed into the trees.

Beyond the brook, only a humble trickle now, is the hardwood, where the maples and the evergreens grow close as if to comfort each other there in the place where wild animals leave their prints. And yet we saw no fox, no coyote, no rabbit dashing over fallen, rotting logs. No birds even to ease the silence. Only our voices and our footsteps, the latter sometimes sinking deeper than our boots allowed.

Redder than the dirt on this island were the fragmenting innards that spilled from a stump, and pale as lemon slices were the leaves that clung resolutely to a sapling. I paused now and then to touch the warped limb of a tree, wondering what made it grow so, loving the emerald moss that ages even the youngest tree. The boy and I appreciated those glades among the tallest trees that would shelter a tent and campfire quite nicely, dreaming of the summer that may never come.

Oh, I shouldn’t write such things. I hold high hopes that this spring will restore its pride and overcome this cold streak. Into the trees I will soon return—but to cross a wider brook. And eventually to pick the lovely Lady’s Slipper. That’s the plan anyway.

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