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listening to the trees, in late winter

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The air this morning was crisp and cold. The thermometer read -2 when we left to take my son to school. He says to me, “It looks like a lamb outside, a cold lamb.”

Given it is the first of March, this would suggest we will see this month in like a lamb, out like a lion.

The drop in temperature left a dusting of fluffy frost collected on the trees.

Sunrise over the First Lutheran Church of New Rockford

Sunrise over the First Lutheran Church of New Rockford

In that a moment, as the sun captured the flecks of crystalized moisture, the trees spoke to me. Even though it was cold, I listened.


They said, “Go back home and get your camera. We are feeling photogenic today.”


“The sky is the most exquisite shade of blue. A deep contrast on the shades of white, grey, and brown shown on our limbs. The same way the snow on the mountains accentuates the shades of color in the sky. We know you miss the mountains, but we are glad you are here. We are glad to be here too.” 

DSCN8325“Mornings like this are exciting. We awake, dressed with an unsurpassed beauty. A beauty we only welcome in winter.”


When we are dressed with such beauty, its almost as if our blossoms have returned. As if our buds have burst. But we know this dress is only temporary. For it is not yet time to begin stirring for spring. The birds have not yet come, to eat our remaining fruit. Our sap has not yet started running, to nourish our green parts. The air is not yet warm enough, to comfort our new growth.”

DSCN8330“Nonetheless, we are grateful for the day. For the elegant frost. For the beautiful sky. For those who take the time to notice. If they don’t take the time to notice us now, while we are dressed up and pretty, we will not laugh. We will not be disappointed. Afterall, that is just what life does to people.”

DSCN8345“But we will snicker, even giggle, later in the day. People will notice when we begin to shed our decor. They’ll think its snowing! And then, they’ll see the blue sky and feel relief. ‘Its not snowing outside! Its sparkling!’ And those are the moments we hope to hear, hope to feel. To feel the moments in which people feel the beauty that is all around. The moments in which they feel the beauty from which we come.”


About Rachel

Rachel is an independent artist and writer who thrives on sharing her deep appreciation for the natural world. She has taught college courses in wildlife identification, ethnobotany, environmental science, natural resource management, and cultural studies. She lives in North Dakota with her two boys, husband, dog, and cats. She enjoys gardening, cooking, drawing, writing, hunting, hiking, and snowshoeing, but is usually too tired to do any of these, except for writing...

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