Friday, 23 December 2011


Midwinter. The bleak midwinter, as Rosetti wrote. Trees are in a meditative state after they celebrated another fruitful summer by orchestrating a mosaic of reds, oranges, greens, yellows and browns. No longer leaves dancing on the wind, but soon their buds will start to swell, preparing for yet another spring. The embodiment of spring for me is the unfolding of leaves of the sycamore. Each year, in the beginning of April, I witness the unfolding of their lobed leaves from an old stone bridge over a nearby burn. The burn, in full flow, is dipper territory. Upstream it is free to spill over into the low-lying wooded embankments. Old lichen-covered alder, elder, hazel, rowan and sycamore live entwined, welcoming a range of small birds. Only walkers can reach the bridge. From the bridge you look down on the lowest branches of the sycamore. The old tree takes several days to unfold its leaves, slowly stretching finger after finger until it welcomes you with an open hand. The translucent yellow green leaves emerge from pale red buds from which blossom develops as well. Soon the leaves will turn saturated green, keeping this colour until late summer. But for me contentment lies in the birth of spring, and this is but a fleeting moment.     

Copyright text and music Petra Vergunst

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