Sun and snow on birch tree

Snow Trees

Snow and Sun

Its been an unusually calm winter with very little snow.  For just a few days last month we had a few inches of soft fluffy whiteness, perfect for an afternoon wander in the sudden sunshine after snow showers. The sun was low, giving this striking illumination in the birch.

Sunset clouds in snowy birch treesAfter sunset, the clouds reflecting a pink glow back through the snowy birch silhouettes.

The more I look into this image, the more I love the colours and space of the heavens, anchored down to earth by the trees 🙂   In these woods in the twilight there is a magical presence here, at any time of the year, but it seems amplified with snow underfoot reflecting the pink sky back upwards.  Birch has long been known as ‘the tree of light’ – the name coming from ancient Germanic meaning ‘shining white’.  In his wonderful book, Fred Hageneder explores the links between birch and Brigid –

“The Celtic goddess of returning light, Brigid, bears in her name a clear link to bhereg, the etymological Indo-European root of Birch.”
Fred Hageneder, ‘The Spirit of Trees – Science, Symbiosis and Inspiration’

Brigid’s day  is the 1st of February – marked by ancient stone circle solar calendars as one of the quarter points of the year, halfway between midwinter solstice and the spring equinox, the point at which we start to notice the lengthening days and the return of light.  She’s all about the return of the light, physically and spiritually – her name has many pronunciations, from Brigid, to Bride, to Breet, simply  meaning ‘bright’.

May the blessing of light be on you—
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart.
– Old Irish blessing

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