Tuesday, 18 December 2012
A winter wood
Early winter snowfall had come and gone whilst I was away from home working, washed away by a violent weather system which caused damage along the length of eastern Scotland. In the days which followed the weather was quieter with temperatures a few degrees either side of freezing.
On a calm, cool morning I took a walk in Murray Park, a mixed woodland bequeathed to the community by the poet Charles Murray. A pale winter sun was struggling to burn away the mist and dampness. At first, all seemed to be monochrome - a dead winter woodland.
But there's life in the wood even at this time of year, close to the winter solstice. Lichens festooning the Birch trees with delicate and complex growth, a signal of good air quality.
Colour too. The conifers retain a rich green colour among the brons and greys of the deciduous trees; a branch of this fir catching the light and glistening with moisture.
Stopping to absorb the wood and to look around, other colours peep through. The hips of this wild rose bush caught in a shaft of sunlight were fairly glowing.
And nearby, a leaf still clinging to an oak (Quercus petraea) and beautifully backlit.
Green, red and gold, here are all the colours of Christmas in a seemingly lifeless winter wood.