The Winter Trees
All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.
~ William Carlos Williams
As we await what forecasters imagine could be another 18 inches to three feet of snow this weekend, I snowshoed nearby yesterday on the six or eight inches we have remaining from past snowfalls.
The trees and snags rise, stark, sometimes patterned, sometimes the most colourful thing in sight, especially when adorned with lichen. Their verticality is artless and obvious when they’re bare of “attire,” as William Carlos Williams puts it. Standing straight and parallel as fence pickets, but rarely arranged in fence form, the trunks define space by where they are and by where they’re not; their steadfast presence, one by one amid the mounded snow, expands my sense of the woods, eternally amplifies the air and magnifies the extent of the frozen earth as I look from one to the next, these signs, these sages actively waiting through winter, gathering the clear cold energy and deepening, preparing for what may come, sending roots to what is, for the moment, solid.
And sometimes a gift is tucked away within the gift.