Friday, February 17, 2023

Friday Ramble - Birch Mother in the WInd

paper birch (also called canoe birch, silver birch or white 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, rhe north wind scouring bare trees and making the branches ring like old iron bells.
Springtime is a puckish wight this far north, and after appearing, she sometimes disappears for days and weeks at a time. After several days of milder weather and dwindling snowdrifts, temperatures dropped at sunset yesterday, and several inches of heavy wet snow fell overnight. The squall continues this morning, and white stuff will fall all day. Winter (alas) is not over yet, here at least.
For all the seasonal toings and froings, late winter days spent in the woods have a wonderful way of quieting one's thoughts and breathing patterns, bringing her back to a still and reflective space in the heart of the living world.

I sat on a log for a while this week, watching as tattered scraps of birch bark fluttered back and forth in the wind. When the morning sun slipped out from behind the clouds, beams 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.

Why are there so few words for snow in the English language? 


Gill said...


Barbara Rogers said...

No answer to your question. My thoughts are with the indigenous peoples who made canoes with birch bark. It's an amazing thought, and I'd love to see one. Since they wore moccasins, I guess they wouldn't punch a hole stepping into one, like a western European in a boot!