I stand firm, a sentry who guards over the little cottage at the edge of the meadow. My last stubborn leaves cling to me, reluctant to admit their time is past. It seems like yesterday I bathed in the warmth of the sun.
Wasnít it yesterday the small white-haired being that abides in the cottage slipped out to sit under me? She loves to gaze up through my maze of branches and admire the beauty of the rays as they shine through my golden-bronze leaves.
Ah, but alas, yesterday has past. Many yesterdays for that matter, and today there is a distinct chill in the air. The sky is forever grey and the wind hits my north side with an angry vengeance. Some of my less significant branches have broken loose and fallen to the ground.
I hadnít noticed until the small white-haired being scampered around under me and gathered my lost limbs into her arms. I donít mind. I will help keep her warm in the winter just like my shade keeps her cool in the summer.
Last night a horrific storm encroached on the valley. The wind whipped through me with brutal command. For a brief moment I thought I might topple. Rain and sleet pelted me with their fierce horizontal force.
I noticed the lights in the tiny cottage were reduced to the flicker of a single candle. The small white-haired being loves storms. She stood in front of the window and sipped hot liquid from a mug and smiled. I saw her jump when a bright flash illuminated the entire area. Her eyes danced in anticipation of the next strike.
I didnít enjoy the storm like she did. I found it abusive and I cowered in fear of the next bolt of lightening. The moss that hangs from my appendages is thoroughly soaked. My branches creak something horrible. Large parts of me were ripped loose and left to dangle until the next tempest passes through to finish the dastardly deed.
I noticed after the storm a large doe came to the meadow and grazed. She is beautiful. The white-haired being saw her too and watched in silence.
I felt a flurry of snow today. It tickled. The little being burst out of her cottage and stood with her face towards the sky and stuck her tongue out. I enjoyed her laughter with each captured snowflake. Later, I saw her hang twinkle lights around her window. They are a sweet sight on a cold snowy night.
The snow continued off and on but didnít accumulate much. Chickadees scampered about my gnarly roots in search of a meal. I wanted to tell them that the being inside the cottage hadnít thrown any seed out for them yet. Creatures of habit, they are.
Iím pretty sure it will continue to snow overnight. The sky is solid grey. Weíre in the heart of the coldest season now.
More snow overnight? It didnít quit snowing for a week straight. The white-haired being faithfully used a broom to create a path from her door to me. She scattered seeds for the chickadees and some bread for the crows. They annoy me. I wish she would forget the bread.
On her way back to the cottage the being dropped to her seat, lay on her back in the snow, and made a snow angel. She giggled like a school-girl and the chickadees chirped along. The two sounds combined created a remarkable harmony.
Silence fills the air. Smoke curls from the chimney of the cottage. The valley is clothed in her winter coat and the mountains glimmer in their icy-white splendor.
I am winter-weary. We wait. All of nature waits. Even the little white-haired being inside the cottage waits. Creatures move about only when they must. Everyday seems the same. The newness of snow has passed and we are embittered from the cold.
No longer do I refer to the warmth of the sun upon us like yesterday. Too many days have passed to say that. Today I begin to hope for tomorrow.
All of nature anticipates the day when the sun will perform its magic over the valley. Bluebells will soon blanket the meadow with a burst of spring color.
It may not happen tomorrow, but maybe the next tomorrow I will once again bathe in the warmth of the sun and winter will be yesterday.
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