The trees are all naked, except for the stubborn oaks who hold onto their oxblood leaves until nearly spring. There are a few saplings who mysteriously held onto now fading green leaves all this time, as if no one told them the natural progression of things.
Mostly, though, the Wood is all naked trunks and limbs, and you can see so much further in than even a month ago. Things lay open and revealed, like that cottage that you didn't notice sitting now in plain view, the veil of green removed and only tender branches holding the secrets summer left behind. This is the time to look at the trees, to really see them, to really pull in the twisted trunks, the amazing straight serenity rising so high into the sky. Though it's more challenging in winter to name them when they no longer wear their leaves, it is also easier to see the silhouettes they show, the amazing textures of bark, the patterns of branches and their way of rising up from the ground.
Everyone looks so naked without a mantle of snow! I am waiting for the snow, as they are; to soften hard edges, to cover the ground and make certain what is only tentative in this time of year- that yes, it is winter, or very nearly so. Snow I love, snow which somehow makes all warmer and more welcoming, makes winter easier to bear and easier to love. I, like the Wood, am waiting.