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Trees: frost shadows

March 11, 2014

What a blessed change in the weather this week! Starry, frosty nights give way to blue-sky mornings and bright sunshine. There is warmth in the spring sun now: it will soon put paid to the snowdrops, I think, and has brought the crocuses in to flower (those that have escaped the attentions of the hungry pheasants, at least). On the morning school run, however, the frost is still hard enough for me to have to scrape the ice from the car windscreen; something I’ve barely had to do all winter.

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Crocuses and snowdrops under a lime tree

I awoke early this morning, in tears after a vivid nightmare. It was obviously an anxiety dream about my younger son’s coming transition to boarding school. I could rationalise it, but it was one of those dreams whose atmosphere is thickly present in the room even after you wake up. I got out of bed to splash my face with cold water and break the spell. The compensation was that I was able to see the first and best of the bright morning: a woolly blanket of fog lay over the river under the sunlit hill, and the fields were striped with frost shadows. Every bird in the wood was singing.

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A little later, at a more civilised time but before the shadows had retreated too far, I took some photos from the bedroom window. In this one you can see the dark bulk of the castle looming towards the lochan, the chimneys like claws on a great bear’s paw almost touching the water:

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It was the shadow of a tree which really caught my eye, though. A rather nondescript beech was transformed, by frost and sunlight, into a perfectly shaped leaf skeleton on the new spring grass. Seeing this huge leaf shape thrown across the field raised my spirits again: it seems like a reminder, a promise that there are days of green leaves and sunshine to come.

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You might enjoy Oak on a frosty morning.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Toffeeapple permalink
    March 11, 2014 4:00 pm

    The shadow was perfect.

    I am missing Scotland so much and I am not even sure if we are going back this year.

    • March 11, 2014 4:32 pm

      I know that visceral feeling of ‘needing’ to be back somewhere you love! For me it’s the west highlands and Skye. We haven’t been there since last summer and I am beginning to get twitchy…

  2. hmunro permalink
    March 11, 2014 5:39 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about your terrible nightmare — but hopefully the “compensation” of waking to this beautiful morning was compensation enough. Especially that last image of the beech and its leaf-shaped shadow. Bien vu, chère DB … bien vu !

  3. March 11, 2014 7:34 pm

    Beautiful photos and a reminder of my last week, in the woods – frosty mornings and evenings there too, but followed by glorious spring during the day.

  4. March 11, 2014 7:53 pm

    Morning birds are especially nice after waking like that. That little tree – it almost looks like an old myth or something…like a spirit trapped in a different body by the daylight. Quite remarkable. Certainly an appearance just for you

  5. March 12, 2014 7:55 am

    It’s good that you had such beauty to dispel ‘The Mare’, as it’s known in North East fishing communities. That term always makes me think of a wild black horse – perhaps better not to dwell.

    It must be the stronger light that makes tree shadows so striking at this time of year. Your post reminded me of one I did not long after I started blogging: http://occasionalscotland.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/great-big-lawn.html. Unlike you tho, I didn’t spot the tree shape until it was too late.

    • March 12, 2014 11:47 am

      Oh yes, that tree shape in Princes St. Gardens is wonderful, like the cookie monster!
      Talking of monsters, ‘The Mare’is a very evocative name. I spent yesterday feeling ‘hag-ridden’. Fine now – and another glorious day!

  6. March 13, 2014 7:44 am

    Dear DB,
    I am not sure if I commented before, if not I was interrupted by little people and somehow never got to hit ‘post comment’. I think the latter took place. What I intented to post, ages ago, was how fortuitous it was for me that you stopped by my blog, as now I reap the bounty of your lovely blog too.

  7. March 13, 2014 7:50 pm

    Hi DE! In fact you did manage to comment before and I am flattered that you have made a return visit. I do sympathise with being interrupted by little people though! 🙂 Thanks again for stopping by.

  8. Karin Van den Bergh permalink
    March 21, 2014 1:58 am

    Beautiful pictures! And yes, what a perfect timing for shooting that pic of the shadow tree! love it! Such a blessing to live amongst so much beauty!

  9. April 6, 2014 1:56 pm

    I’ve missed your posts, DB and am glad to be back. 🙂 I’m sorry you had the horrible experience of waking from a nightmare, but nature and the early hour certainty conspired to comfort you and reward your untimely awakening. Whenever I wake very early (not very often, I’m afraid) I’m always reminded how much beauty I miss through my sluggardly habits. 😦

    • April 9, 2014 11:55 pm

      Oh, me too! Early morning is the most blessed and beautiful time of day – but I rarely see it. 😀

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