Snow, fine and dry as salt, sifted onto everything. Later the flakes grew, falling softly on housetops, on walkways and roads, slicking them treacherously. Windshield wipers couldn’t clear it fast enough; it melted and then turned to ice on car windows, obscuring vision. Then fog rolled in and left a rime of hoar frost on tree branches already lined with snow. The evergreens look painted, even now.
All week, the snow has tantalized and teased us. There were feather flakes on Monday and on Sunday and off and on again on Tuesday. These are light, dry flakes looking like tiny flowers and collecting on everything they touch. They rest on tree branches in the windless air, willing to whisk away at the slightest breath.
We are told that this year Winnipeg will have a white Christmas and is almost guaranteed to have snow on Christmas day. What a lovely thing to contemplate and I can hardly wait for that moment when Glenn and I drive to Lori’s, the car filled with presents, to be part of Christmas morning with the kids. Even though they are almost grown up, this still seems very important as it was to their grandparents when Lori and Shauna were young.
We live in Charleswood, where oak forests still exist, although barely. Bur oaks can live up to 400 years and most of the oaks in this city were here when the houses they surround were built. These trees were young when the buffalo roamed here.
The oaks represent timelessness and strength.
To my eye, their time is winter. Somehow they seem more animate now as they reach up rugged branches which stand out black against the pewter sky up and welcome the snow. .
Yet strong as they are, oaks have a sensitive root system that resents the loading of soil on the surface above them. The vibrations of traffic are a disturbance to their slow march toward the future. Soil compaction suffocates trees that took root expecting only the sounds and rhythms of nature. Many of the heritage oaks are dying now, succumbing to the inexorable intrusion of people-needs.
They say time marches on, but I suspect it is people who do the marching while time stands still with the oak trees.