Spring has been late this year, yet there is something to be said for all the suspense Personally, I like the look of the woods in the very early spring, before much of anything has come out. Anything flimsy or light-weight has been blown away, leaving behind what is settled and essential. The heavy mat of autumn leaves, the loose limbs lying in profusion on the ground, have begun their slow metamorphosis into something else, the leaves destined to break up into smaller and smaller pieces and become part of the soil, while the damp and the bugs and even our human tread will gradually demolish the wealth of kindling we see now.
The blond beech leaves still on the trees are a marvelous exception. Why they must cling to the young trees, when winds have long ago ripped every other leaf away, I have no idea. They seem to obey only an aesthetic necessity: to decorate the forest, which would otherwise be bereft of any adornment, their parchment-like delicacy quaking about the base of the old grey trees, as if their papery pennants were sprays of flowers.
Though the leaves aspire to hang on forever, time has other ideas. At the base of the trees, where the rivulets run, moss gets ready for another season, as cardinals and jays flit through the bare treetops.
Expectancy swirls with the birds through the woods. The temperature is bracing, the view is austere, veiling a disruption that’s almost here.