For those of us who live in landscapes with deciduous trees, winter creates opportunities to appreciate them in different ways from summer. The loss of leaves means that tree shapes become truly visible. This is especially true of field trees, whose solitary positions make them easier to appreciate. Field trees have much rounder forms than their woodland counterparts, but in the woods, winter reveals the patterns of branches and the sky above.

Trunks and bark become more visible in the winter – and there’s such an array of textures, subtle colours and surfaces. Fungi on trees are more present at this time of year, and resident moss and lichen is easier to spot. I’ve blogged over at Druid Life about my favourite winter tree exposure.

Look carefully at a tree without its leaves, and you will see signs of spring in the depths of winter. I’ve seen a lot of Pagan writing suggest that the trees are sleeping at this time of year, but it isn’t so. The sap is down, tree life is slower, but preparations for spring are underway. I write this in December, having already seen next year’s catkins in the making, and next year’s leaf buds. At the moment, they’re all folded down, and their colours are muted, so you won’t necessarily spot them without getting close to the tree. Look carefully though, and the promise of renewal is with us even in the coldest and darkest days.


(Image from Hopeless Maine – a project by Tom and Nimue Brown, art by Tom Brown.)