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The Tuesday tree: a bit of the white stuff

December 20, 2011

Glancing back at my posts from this time last year, I can hardly believe we are in the same season. Instead of temperatures hovering around minus ten Celsius or lower (in Fahrenheit that’s, erm, well, pretty damn cold anyway) we have a continuation of our soggy autumn, with the mercury dropping below zero only occasionally. Instead of gloriously deep, pristine snow, we have sleet, then rain, then maybe a frost to make the wet roads skiddy, then a wee bit more sleet… In fact, the weather this year has been like my mood this year: the odd bright moment, but mostly just a bit ‘meh’. At least last winter’s challenges gave us something to get our teeth into.

Still, winter’s not over yet by a long shot. Be careful what you wish for, as the saying goes! And this week has brought just enough of the white stuff to kindle a spark of festive spirit in my usually enthusiastic heart. A heavy frost at the weekend made all the trees feathery white and sparkling. Then yesterday morning brought long snow showers,

which didn’t amount to a great deal, but gave us enough snow for my elder son (on holiday already) to go sledging down the handy little slope in the garden. In the woods there isn’t much snow cover, but what I noticed was the way the dusting of white picked out the shapes of different roots, from the sinuous thuyas,

to the knobbly Douglas firs.

I like the way a little snow highlights the branches too, whether they are the feathery fronds of the Douglases,

or the bare limbs of the oak that curves protectively over our icy lochan, where ‘our’ pair of wild swans are swimming in an ever smaller patch of open water.

So you see, there are still plenty of beautiful trees to lift the spirits, even as the foresters are hard at work clearing away the remains of those that fell in the storm. And in the afternoon yesterday, the snow and sleet showers finally lifted, leaving us the gift of a spectacular sunset just in time for the school run.

These short midwinter days of silver, white and gold are one of the finest gifts of the season.

You might enjoy a post from last December, celebrating Wintry pleasures.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2011 5:16 pm

    So sorry about your old trees.
    We have many large, ancient ones as well.
    Friends, all.
    Wishing you a Happy Christmas season.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 22, 2011 12:39 pm

      Old trees do indeed feel like friends. Thanks for your good wishes, and a happy Christmas to you too!

  2. Margaret Lambert permalink
    December 20, 2011 8:20 pm

    The best news is that you are feeling some festive spirit! I hope that you and your boys (including husband!) have a very Happy Christmas. If we do not hear from you before New Year, my wish for you is Health, among all the other blessings. Thank you for all the news of the garden, the weather, the trees, the land, the Highland Games and other assorted events of the year, as well as the Castle, yourself and family…It’s a pleasure to have ‘met’ you here!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 22, 2011 12:42 pm

      Margaret, your faithful readership and generous comments are so much appreciated, especially in this past year when I have often struggled to write anything which I think is worth reading. Thank you for your blessings and your quiet kindness. I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas and New Year.

  3. December 20, 2011 8:29 pm

    Oh dear lord. I have just read your previous post as well as this one. Your landscape has definitely changed in an instant. Glad you are finding something to feel festive over.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 22, 2011 12:43 pm

      Oh yes, the festiveness is non-negotiable! I am working on it right now…. 😉

  4. December 21, 2011 9:33 am

    These short days are a gift. Ever since coming across this in Walter Pater’s writings (coincidentally on just such a midwinter afternoon in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris – I still remember the moment of impact of reading these words) I think of them at this time of year: “To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life…Not to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us… is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening.”

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 22, 2011 12:44 pm

      I have never read this before. It’s beautiful and thought-provoking. I have come back to this quote several times already, mulling it over, thinking how I can apply it in the new year, which will be, I am determined, a better one. Thank you for this.

  5. December 22, 2011 2:16 am

    The best gifts.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 22, 2011 12:45 pm

      Yes, aren’t they.

  6. December 22, 2011 10:35 am

    Sorry you’re feeling a bit grey like the weather, DB. I hope the Christmas season will soon lift your spirits. I love your photos as always. You have such a gift for seeing beauty in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.

    Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas and health and happiness in the New Year.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 22, 2011 12:47 pm

      Your kind and thoughtful comments have meant a great deal to me this past year, Perpetua. Thank you very much, and I wish you, too, a happy and peaceful Christmas and new year.

  7. deb permalink
    December 22, 2011 9:02 pm

    That certainly was a scary storm – so many stories like that around the world lately. Here in Massachusetts we’ve had tornadoes, hurricane floods, an earthquake, and a snowstorm in October. Very strange. I understand how you feel about your trees. They represent so much time passed as well as beauty. Just thinking about how it takes just seconds to destroy something that took so many years to grow. But planting a new tree is a way to look forward to the future. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

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