it’s been a winter,

he said

yes, it has been
a winter

The First Throw

The thing to consider about weeping willows, is that they are inherently mischievous.

There are many stories to support this thought. Tales of entanglement, trickery and enchantment. Stories also, of their wisdom.

If you lived much of your childhood beneath a graceful willow, you know the stories of wisdom are true. You will know, too, of their affability.

But, when you stop beneath a snow-laden willow on a day in late winter, you might be reminded of their playfulness. For the trees are awakening.

And while you are veiled in its beauty – when you feel encompassed and safe; it will start the battle then.

For what is wisdom, without humour?


it’s been a winter,
he said

yes, I love that it’s been a winter

© Karen McRae, 2013

75 thoughts on “it’s been a winter,

  1. I love willow trees too. They are among the first to awaken from winter and the last to go to sleep, holding on to their leaves as long as possible. I think if I were to reincarnate as a tree I would like to be a willow, graceful, mysterious, tenacious and flexible.

      1. Have you noticed that they build their own soil to expand their range. The next time you are in a willow grove notice how the fallen branches form a mat that traps other organic matter and creates new areas for them to grow in. They also secrete a rooting hormone that enables them to propagate themselves. If you simply push a green branch into a moist environment it will take root.

      2. Reading speeddemon’s comment made me chuckle. These trees are among my favourites (especially the weeping willow), but they are a pest along Australian waterways where broken branches self root and also grow too easily from seed.

  2. After reading a couple of Louise Penny novels your winters scare the h…. out of me! Your photos wonderfully illustrate them, and I totally admire your ability to make these minimalist, stark and moving images under those conditions.

    1. Oh there are harsh days, for sure. It’s quite lovely this week, just around freezing. The trick is to dress properly!
      Thanks for your comment, christian. : )

  3. Humor is not only for laughing = show the reality and make people to see,
    “Yah, it’s true true in deed”, is also the humor.
    So, see it is still winter = Yah, it’s true true ! 🙂
    I like your choice to give shallow but clear enough depth and the out of focus
    back ground —– the right balance !

  4. We grew up near a willow tree – it really did have this spirit – i remember hiding in it and feeling it was like a soft see through veil..great words Karen, and images that show the dark and light as always..

    1. Hi Cath, yes willow trees do have something special about them. I spent many hours hidden in a willow as a child (a good place for book reading!). Thank you.

  5. Karen – a charming post full of whimsy – winter has finally shown up in the Missouri Ozarks – snow flurries and just plain cold – but the weatherman has promised sunshine and 50 on Sunday – can’t complain too much! Happy 1st day of March to you – K

  6. So true about the weeping willow. They personify so much of what one is feeling on any given day-reflecting back, gentle mocking? Graceful and lovely. Wonderful Karen.

  7. Karen, absolutely stunning, as always. The weeping willow tree is my favorite tree.. grew up with them. I even named my first website after my childhood memories… Thanks for awaking many memories and thoughts. Beautiful series.

    1. Hi Erica,
      Ah, we have shared a similar childhood experience. : )
      They are magical trees, aren’t they? I will go climb your willow now… : )
      Thank you!

  8. I love it when you write words for your photographs. Both so compelling. I have a peripheral sense of trees’ mischievousness, now that you mention it. Like they’re moving around behind my back, pulling faces. And doesn’t aspirin come from willows?

  9. A heavy, wet snow left a coating on everything with surface, in every direction. Each twig was covered. Then the day warmed…and the playful PLOP! of the trees became a game we played together…I stepped, the tree plooped, I looked up, the tree looked away, I looked down, I felt a plop on my back…I looked up again and the tree winked.

  10. I have just read a book about Canadian winters and I’m not sure I would survive! You always manage to capture the softness, the beauty and the magic in your images, like that of a child waking up to the first snowfall, but then there is also an edge there too which reminds us that nature can be playful, and cruel as well as wondrous. Funny that the book made me think of your images. You seem so connected with nature, which is wonderful and heartwarming. I love your words and pictures of the mischievous willow!

    1. Emily, the trick is to dress in thick layers and keep moving! I do get sick of the bundling up, though, spring is most welcome!
      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  11. when i was a kid we had a tiny garden plot close to the apartment building we lived in. we grew vegetables and flowers and used sticks of stripped willow branches as supports for sweet peas and other plants. one spring one of the ‘sticks’ grew roots and came to life. we kept it in the ground and made beds around it so it could become a tree. a year or two later we moved and i only got a chance to visit the place twenty years later. the ‘stick’ was still there, now a proud willow…

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