This is the time of winter I look forward to here along the coast of South Carolina. Winters are generally very mild with the coldest weather occurring from late December to about the middle of January. So the worst is behind us, though we could get some weather around freezing in February. But today was the kind of day we live for, and we will have many weeks, at least through April, like this: temperatures in the mid 50s to mid 60s, sunny blue skies, and light breezes, day after day in succession. It’s perfect weather for walking. Today in the park I felt like I could have walked for miles. So invigorating, so perfect, and beautiful camellias lined the pathways.
Last week the last of the Autumn leaves departed their resting places on the branches of the park’s tall and majestic oak and pecan trees. Now for the first time the trees are bare against the blue skies, and I have that distinct feeling of winter. The only thing we lack is snow, and how magical the park would be with the limbs of trees and the ground covered by a soft layer of powdery white snow. Ah, to dream of a winter wonderland! Well we can’t have that, but the lofty bare tees are a good enough reminder that we are passing through the short days of winter.
I’ve always been struck by the beauty of bare winter trees. Forty years ago I recorded this in my journal:
November 28, 1979
House suddenly it seems the winter trees are bare, and the cold season is here once again, the season of contrast. Stark tree against clear sky, it’s bold outlines tracing the most elegant network of reaching veins. I love this time of year, primarily because of this contrast. Everything becomes the tree’s companion in the frame, a beautiful winter composition. TheFall proceeded with an intermittent splashing of muted oranges and reds, then the brilliant yellows of hickories everywhere. How wistfully I savored this color, with the growing awareness that each day farther into November, it’s spectacle would be diminished. Finally, the last crisp, brown dead leaves clinging tenaciously to branches lose their grip in the slightest beckoning wind, which calls to them on their way to rest in the dankness of the earth which they become.
An album of winter trees
Last updated January 23, 2021