Friday, March 11, 2022

Friday Ramble - Birch Mother in the Wind


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, sunny March days have a wonderful way of quieting my thoughts and breathing rhythms, bringing me back to a still and reflective space in the heart of the living world. Far from crowded places and madding crowds, I can just hang out among the trees for a while and replenish my frayed inner directives. When there isn't a coppice or a grove nearby, the edge of a snowy field and a fence post or two will do nicely.

I sat on a log in the woods a few days ago, watching as tatterdemalion scraps and scrolls 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 down and my mind became still. When the morning sun slipped out from behind the clouds, beams of sunlight passed through the blowing strands, turning them golden and translucent, making them look for all the world like elemental stained glass.

Wonderful stuff, birch bark. 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.

1 comment:

Barbara R. said...

I seldom see a read birch with the bark peeling away. They must like colder woods than we have. I do remember bringing a bit of the thin bark in my pocket when I was able to do so.