trees without leaves

Trees are beautiful in winter.

The January sun is brilliant. We find a wood and step into its shade and silence. The trees here are not big, but they are not easy to climb: like thick poles, with no branches. Max scrambles nimbly up one and I feel embarrassed that I can’t do the same. Eventually I find a tree with an accommodating crook and wedge myself into it. Just a few feet off the ground and I feel like an animal.

There is a pheasant. I think I could catch it.

A chill descends. We return to the sun, and find a different sort of tree perched on a slope. It is bigger with plenty of branches. Up, pulling up with the arms, muddy boots slipping trying to find a hold on smooth bark.

Max lies along a branch; I straddle and cling to another. The valley drops away below us like a bowl, and we can hear walkers discussing their dogs’ personalities. Frost on the grass shines in the sun.

I look at Max and want to jump on him.  I jump out of the tree and run down the hill.


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