100 Things I Love #2: Winter Trees

Inspired by Sarah‘s “100 things I love” post based on a suggestion from Tanya Shadrick, I’ve decided to follow suit and create my own list.

I love this idea for so many reasons, chiefly its simplicity, and its focus on gratitude for the “ordinary pleasures” in life. Also, it feels like something we could get behind as a community here, so I hope you’ll join me in this practice.

Trees are unworded thoughts, periscopes of perspective.

Maria Popova

This picture was taken one winter’s day and I love the stark beauty of bare trees against a winter sky. I spend a lot of time photographing trees throughout the seasons and there is a particular beauty to be found at this time of year. I think it’s the play of shadow and light but also the nakedness of the trees stripped of all their outer leaves. It is a sight that always profoundly moves me.

Maria Popova, writing in the sublime Marginalian, calls trees “fertile metaphors for our humanity”, observing how “this cyclical nature of the seasons of the spirit is counter to our dominant cultural narrative of self-improvement, with its ethos of linear progression toward states of ever-increasing flourishing.”

In evocative prose, she extols the beauty of wintering trees, ending on a beautiful note of hope:

I have always cherished the bare beauty of winter trees, so fractal and pulmonary against the somber sky — so skeletal, yet so alive. Anyone willing to look closely — and why be alive at all if not to relish the ecstasy of noticing, that crowning glory of our consciousness? — is rewarded with the gasping recognition that the branches are already covered in tiny dormant buds encoding the Braille promise of spring.