The words to the Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun” echoes through my mind as I consider this image made on the trails yesterday. “It’s been a long cold northern winter”. Indeed, it feels that way.
In reality, this past winter was relatively mild, delayed till late November in its arrival, with a few large bouts of snow, but a lot of cold, windy days. More windy days than I can recall in recent years. The snow, came in large amounts, some melting off, but enough remaining in the forests to compress the leaves on the ground into a dense, solid mat. Something I have not seen for a few years.
The other effect, and I had not noticed this before, though I was not particularly looking for it, was that the beech leaves, which offered splashes of bright orange, well into autumn and early winter, really showed the ravages of the winter. Much of the colour was gone, leaving dull and parched leaves, with ragged edges. In fact, when I first saw them, they looked like ghostly remnants of their former selves. They even look like the skeletons of fish, with their bone-like veins.
The firm, robust, almost leathery, leaves of autumn had become desiccated and diaphanous, Yet diaphanous alludes to some softness, which these were not. The leaves hung to the branches like the brittle wraiths of autumn. Yet, when you look closely, new buds are present, waiting for a few day to coax them back to life, and the cycle continues. Life from death, or rather, a long sleep.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/50 sec, f/16.0, ISO 200