Sunday, March 14, 2010

Me and the Trees

January to March

Daylight Savings Time starts today and it is the psychological end to the short days of winter. It is also the milestone that says once again I have lived through the worst part of the year without slipping into a deep depression or worse. The winter was not so bad all in all. I stuck to my routine of waking up at 6 in the dark and writing for 30 minutes before getting Pearl up for school. There were really only a few days when we drove in the pitch black. On the way to school we would make a point of noticing the condition and level of the light. By the time I had dropped her off and was on my way back the sky would be light and I got into the habit of noticing the stands of trees that line the edges of the blueberry and raspberry fields near my home.

Last fall when the wind was blowing hard and the leaves were coming off the trees I heard a story on the radio about what is actually happening inside the trees during that time. We naturally assume that the leaves after drying out become brittle and fall, lifeless from the tree limbs and we think the wind has something to do with it but in fact that is not what is happening at all. In fall, the trees, having gained strength all summer exude a hormone which forces the leaves off so they can begin the process of preparing to grow the fresh leaves for spring, it's not a passive act. They do it with great determination, it's their life force. With that knowledge in my head, as I drove and walked past the trees in my area I didn't see them as dormant and void of life as I have in the past. Instead of succumbing myself to feelings of darkness and hopelessness, I saw them as alive and growing without the cheerful costume of their leaves. I saw them as the beautiful bare sculptures they are, the super structures of their trunks as they wind upward out of the ground and the delicate shapes the branches make when free of the weight of all that organic matter, their clean lines overlapping eachother. I saw them standing at the edges of the river, the parks where I walk, farmers fields, vigilant filigreed soldiers softening the edges of the gray wintry skies.

It feels good to see things in a new light. I walked a lot this winter and took my camera with me often to document all these trees. They are starting very slowly to put on leaves now, to dress themselves for my summer pleasure. The landscape will bulk back up and next year instead of dreading fall and winter I will look forward to seeing my old friends the bare trees again.

City trees, country trees

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