Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Birch Mother in the Wind

Paper birch, also called white birch and canoe birch
  (Betula papyrifera)  
Here we are on the cusp between winter and springtime, weary of ice and snowdrifts, craving light and warmth.  It is still below freezing much of the time, an icy wind scouring the bare trees and making the branches ring like old iron bells.  Perhaps that is to be expected, for springtime is a puckish wight this far north, and after appearing, she sometimes disappears for days and weeks at a time.

For all that, March days have a wonderful way of quieting one's thoughts and breathing rhythms, bringing her back to a still and reflective space in the heart of the living world.

I sat on a log in the woods a few days ago, watching as tattered scraps of birch bark fluttered back and forth in the north wind. The lines etched in the tree's paper were words written in a language I could almost understand when my breath slowed and my mind became still. When the morning sun slipped out from behind the clouds, rays of sunlight passed through the blowing strands and turned them golden and translucent, for all the world like elemental stained glass.

When I touched the old tree in greeting, my fingers came away with a dry springtime sweetness on them that lingered for hours. I tucked a thin folio of bark in the pocket of my parka and inhaled its fragrance all the way home.

2 comments:

Tabor said...

Oh I do love this and wish you could send me that spring fragrance.

Barbara R. said...

So lovely, spring scents here are mainly of wet earth as I move it from one pot to another, then water old plants and hope they will revive in their same containers. The daffodils survived a couple of freezing nights and are again bobbing on the breeze. Will I take the effort to go capture another photo of them? Maybe,