“Final Days of Fire and Ice”
“These are the final days of fire and ice, the fiery foliage of the beeches begins to fade and drop and the ice and snow will soon be only a memory.” – Ed Lehming
The forest these days is filled with contrast and transition. The trails, covered with snow and ice mere days ago are strips of ice and slush. The only snow remains in sheltered valleys and north-facing hillsides. The beech leaves that I have been so fond of all winter long are, for the most part, tattered remnants of their former glory. With warming days, wind, and moisture, many are beginning to wear and decay, yet still clinging to their branches. I’m seeing the start of new buds forming, which will soon force last year’s growth to fall.
The beech tree on the right is one of my favourites. For some reason, it’s foliage remains thick and brightly coloured every winter since I found it. It’s like a signal fire that can be seen through the forest long before I get close to it.
It is beautiful, seeing this transition to spring, though there are only traces of green starting to show. The forest floor remains littered with a compacted layer of leaves, keeping the ground below frozen. Once the sun warms this layer for a few days, that same layer will provide protection for the delicate emerging ephemerals, something I always look forward to.
Winter is fading to spring and I suspect that I will only have a few more photos of ice-filled forests before they are replaced with greenery and spring flowers.
iPhone 12 Pro @ 4.2 mm
1/1667 sec, f/1.6, ISO 32