A Tangle of Bright Moments: In Answer to Its Place & the Light

“What a consolation it is, after
the explanations and the predictions
of further explanations still
to come, to return unpersuaded
to the woods, entering again
the presence of the blessed trees.
A tree forms itself in answer
to its place and the light.
Explain it how you will, the only
thing explainable will be
your explanation.” — Wendell Berry, from “Sabbaths IV” (1999)


Another mid-winter day, another snowshoe hike, this time at a local nature park on a day that reached 26F from a low of -2F. You can see that I was bundled up.


The trees are always worth noticing at this time of year — their structure, skeleton, radiance, closeness, branching, bark, cones, sizes, textures.


white birch bark
fir cone

Some of tree trunks host slime mold and fungi, some feed woodpeckers and others.


An open wet spot on the trail.


Nexus of ice, snow, water.


The sprouting from snow of an inscrutable numeral.



Featured image: There’s a meadow under there. 
This is one in a series of posts revisiting field trips taken from January to June 2019, as described here.


  1. Yes, you’re right, Tony, it’s a balsam fir (our only native fir). Wasn’t thinking. Eastern hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) are even more prevalent here than firs but their cones also hang down from branches, like spruce, and they are much smaller (less than an inch round) than other cones we see here.

  2. I’ve always enjoyed winter woods, when the stone walls are visible along with the tree trunks.

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