The wise trees

I adore snow. Maybe I’m still a child at heart, but when the first flakes of winter start drifting to earth, I couldn’t be happier. I love watching it while snug and warm indoors. I also love pulling on my warmest clothes and going out (feeling like the Michelin man), with the camera equipment tucked safe and dry inside my rucksack. We are very lucky to live in the country and I can easily spend a couple of hours or more exploring the 100 acres belonging to our neighbour on the right. The neighbour on the left has even more land, but I don’t go that way any more since getting hopelessly lost in the snow a few years ago. I wasn’t worried as I had also packed my old mobile phone – it even had a signal every once in while. In fact, I was perfectly content wandering around with my old film camera, but when I finally came across a spot I recognised, it was with the knowledge that I was a very long way from home and still had a long walk back. The neighbour behind us has over 2,000 acres, but I know my limits now!

Walking across farm land is never easy. While the snow may have formed a clean and even blanket on the surface, it hides a myriad selection of ruts, holes and deep puddles underneath. I trundle on at a snail’s pace, but at least it gives me time to appreciate the surroundings and there is less chance that I will miss something. The tree featured at the top of this page can hardly be missed as it stands at the very top of a hill. In fact, we can even see parts of it from our bedroom window. The branches spread so wide that there is no hope of getting everything in with my old lens. If it snows this winter I must take another walk over there to see what I can do with the ultra wide zoom. This particular photograph was taken during a snow storm, although the flakes are hard to spot. The line of trees in the background are where the farmer’s sheep look for shelter during bad weather and this day was no exception.

The image below was taken on the same day. I was fascinated by the way the snow had clung to the twiggy branches of the silver birch trees in this little copse.

Snowy Silver Birch

Finally the image at the bottom was taken more recently during the last snowfall we had in this area. I loved the way the pathways crossed in the woods, with the wonderful textured bark of the old tree on the left. Not long after this was taken, we were once again snowed in. No matter because we could both work from home. It’s normally pretty quiet around here, but with no traffic in the lane, there wasn’t a sound. I recall doing the animals outside in the dark, only with a clear sky and an almost full moon, it wasn’t actually dark at all. Once we were finished, I made my way up to our bedroom and gazed out at the vast and beautiful landscape. I hope we get some snow this year!

Winter Trees
by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Old Man of the Woods

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