For me there is something special about trees in winter. You get to appreciate the beautiful subtlety of twisted trunks and broken branches, the soft hues and the sinewy masses that are normally overshadowed by leaves. I wrote about my appreciation of tree barks here some months ago and this too is part of the fascination of winter tree gazing. But there’s more than that; it seems to me that trees, especially deciduous ones, somehow embody the spirit of winter. Once their leaves drop they cast a spell of sleep and withdrawal across the land- and us, if we are alert enough to perceive it. They look aged, wise and full of secrets, but ones that have no intention of being told until Spring begins to wipe the sleep from our eyes and comb last year’s leaves from our hair.
It’s fun to learn how to spot different trees without being able to rely on their leaves to identify them.
Ash are one of the most distinctive due to their black buds and the ash keys still clinging to their branches at this time of year.
Oak too can be easy to spot due to it’s lovely ridged bark and twisted branches. It helps too that there are still some leaves, despite the high winds, snow and torrential rain of the past few weeks.
Beech trees are always a pleasure to spot with their smooth, silvery bark and great sinewy limbs.
It will come as no surprise to those who have been reading this blog a while that one of my favourite trees to admire at this time is the Hawthorn. These three wind blasted beauties on top of the Downs are some of my favourite trees in the local area.
I love gazing at how the elements and the landscape have moulded them, shaping their stories into form. Though Hawthorns are abundant in this area, each one is completely unique, just like humans they reflect their own natures and that of their environment.
Winter is generally the least popular of the seasons for it’s cold, dark days and biting winds but if you are open to finding the beauty in nature, you’ll find it year round, even if sometimes you have to look a little harder than others.