Snow and oaks

Snow sifted like salt.

Snow sifted like salt.

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.

The oaks

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.


11 thoughts on “Snow and oaks

  1. Alice Hogue says:

    Enjoyable read, nice way to start the day. I enjoy the bare trees on a snowy day as well. The branches reach out to catch each individual flake, the hor frost makes each tree look like they are laiden in feathers.

  2. Larry Ward says:

    That was poetry Dorothy. Well said.

  3. Enjoyable musings on nature!

  4. June Sedo says:

    I so enjoy reading your blog. I too enjoy looking at the trees. Last weekend when I went out to the country to spend the day with my daughter it seemed that Mother Nature had painted all of the trees with hoar frost for our enjoyment. Walking the dog down the road with the trees covered in white was just wonderful.

  5. Linda Jensen says:

    I live on 20 acres of sweet heaven north of winnipeg, with oaks surrounding our home, we call our place “Shady Oaks”. Absolutely love
    the trees at all seasons, but have to agree in the winter they show they’re strength defying the bitter cold and winds.
    Linda Jensen

  6. P.E.A.C.E. says:

    Beautiful writing… I especially enjoyed this: “The vibrations of traffic are a disturbance to their slow march toward the future.” In the chinook zone of Alberta we don’t get to enjoy these magnificent old trees, but I’ve long admired them in photography and when I see them in the background of movie settings.
    May people make room for these incredible specimens. Thank you for sharing here on this delightful blog. I’m happy to have found you and your writings 🙂
    Cheers from a new fan, Gina

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