Aside from a cursory dusting this week, we remain snowless here in southern Rhode Island. It’s so close to Christmas, and yet, if you explore the woods, it could be November. The trees stand stoically in their duff of fallen leaves, accepting whatever the weather gives them. Without the green of the understory or the leafy canopy, their bark and branches draw my eye. It’s always a pleasure to explore the forest now, without the bugs and the heat and the ticks. Sometimes, secrets are revealed. Other times, I simply appreciate the  “bones” of the trees.

Can you see the old sapsucker holes in this dead birch?

We are so vigilant about raking the leaves in our yards. In the forest, leaves form the “duff” of the forest floor, which in turn nourishes the trees:

In arboriculture, v-shaped crotches are considered bad, because if one side splits off from the trunk, it takes half the tree with it. In the forest, there are no such conventions:

I was drawn closer to this tree because of its deeply grooved and  appealing bark. This is what I saw when I drew closer. When I touched it, it felt surprisingly smooth and warm, despite the cold temperature:

With Christmas nearly upon us, the trees are patiently waiting for their annual blanket of white. So am I.

I wish you,  dear readers, the very best of holidays, and, where geographically appropriate, snow.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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5 Responses to Waiting

  1. cjwright says:

    Is that your tree in the snow, dirtynailz? It’s gorgeous. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone at Digging RI. I’m wishing for snow in south Georgia.


  2. MT says:

    It so happens that this is written on the winter solstice. So the good news is that your trees and plans will now begin to see more sunlight.

    And so will we, which I appreciate.

    I do hope you receive some snow soon to add some ground insulation.

    In the mean time, Merry Christmas.
    (BTW, there’s plenty of snow in Montreal and the ski hills are open up north)


  3. Martha says:

    Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. I hope you get snow before Christmas day. I may not be a fan of winter, but I do enjoy a blanket of snow during the holidays. Thankfully, we have some, once again. But this is Canada, after all, eh?


    • dirtynailz says:

      I am jealous – sort of. Maybe it’s because I grew up with snowy Christmases. I miss those, but I definitely do not miss the hassles of wet boots and cleaning off the car several times a day, and trying to park in the city with huge snow banks, icky road salt on my dog’s paws etc .
      Have a great Christmas, Martha. Love your new blog!


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