The forms of sleep

The forms of sleep

A walk in the winter woods brings on meditation.  The sights are less enlivening, and small things loom larger in the experience.


In the woods, the forms of the trees—often wind-mangled and mutilated—are easier to see, and the quiet eye settles on bark, dead limbs, and fungus instead of on the showy wildflower or playful birds.

Effulgent grasses (Credit: Celia Her City)

The forms of life, rather than life itself, are plain to see.  The fluffy heads of the dry grasses glimmer in the setting sun.

An acorn and a tree (Credit: Celia Her City)

The furrowed bark harbors a tiny acorn.

Tension of the burr (Credit: Celia Her City)

A burr oak’s bark radiates tension even in its sleep.


Elsewhere, downed limbs shed the disguise of life, revealing new beauty.

Union (Credit: Celia Her City)

They speak to us of the unity of all things.

Bare ornamental

Bare ornamental

A weeping ornamental does its work in Hyde Park.  The neighborhood is fretted with many such scenes: trees, once covered with the delicate blooms of spring, now dried up and naked; ivy-veined walls, stripped of their bright cloaks of leaves.  Evergreens, newly powerful, smugly come into their own.  Death mats the garden beds.  Stillness grips all.