the branches have shed leaves, spirited bark graying in anticipation. wind, thick and chilly, has frequented for weeks squashing little leaf-buds. timid seedlings are recoiling. nights are cozying up to the noon and the sun is lackadaisical. the birds, the hares, the snakes have fled. 

and then one day-

the snow covered branches lose their own existence. even without the sun, they become the shadow of the snow, as if it were a portrait. it is, as lovely as that, but it is not, a portrait.

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