I visited my Tree of the Year once again a few days ago to observe the subtle changes that are taking place for this Hawthorn as the winter rolls on and we come to the end of January.
She hangs on the edge of the escarpment, ravaged by wind and by rain and the weary passage of unforgiving winter days and shows me how character may be formed at the confluence of hardship and beauty.
Those berries that are left so late in the season are withered and blackening but buds are starting to form and a new growth of thorns offer their protection.
Whilst the bark of her trunk is textured, old and cracked, her branches have a wonderful smooth reddish skin.
One of the many things trees can teach to us mortals is the way to be young and old simultaneously, the balance between retaining and renewing wherein lies the path to wisdom.
There is nothing straight or symmetrical about these Hawthorns, they twist and bend as nature dictates and, in so doing, they endure.
Until the leaves and blossoms come to soften their forms, they stand stark in their sculptural beauty, yielding yet defiant against the changing palettes of relentless January skies.