Paper birch

Paper birch

Once upon a time, I saw a birch in fall and grief hit me like a truck: its naked branches, white paper bark, the barren black and white. Stark and doomed.

But then. How is it for birch to discharge its leaves every fall?

It prepares for rest in the aftermath of summer, a fruitful season of creating energy stores for winter and releasing oxygen for life.

And today, it’s this that eases the momentary whirlwind, that quiets the mind: the particular slate of sky that acts as canvas to birch’s innumerable branches, and the branches themselves, fanned out and bare except for a few stubborn leaves at the tips.

They rest with arms raised, released under the cooler and darker days of autumn. Leaves gone, branches are lighter and freer to touch the sky, to sway with the wind, to feel the rain.

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