It's the colour that astounds. The true silver of Betula pendula, and the bright, almost heavy blue of the winter sky. It's the two together, that make each something more than either alone.
The birch, stand underneath and you can see the branches aching for the sky, always seeking and reaching up. When clothed in spring, in summer and in autumn the tree seems more grounded, part of the living earth and more comfortable in itself. Come winter, and the stark reality of the landscape and suddenly these strongposts seem to be losing their grip on the world and become looser and it seems, all of a sudden, as though the aching, longing of their limbs to be part of the sky might come true and we might become anchorless without these trees, these diamonds of our landscape.
It's all dreams. The trees are as fixed to this landscape as you and me or maybe more so, for I have legs and can walk and metal wings and can fly, but definitely less so for I don't have pollen that sails on the lightest of winds, or seeds that dance through the sky. I'm an earth-creature for all that I can fly, but the tree is part earth, part sky and all the more wondrous for it. These sometimes hollowed, sometimes cracked, fire-burnt, sun-scorched, wind-beaten, rain-lashed trees are here to stay, until it is us, in our arrogant human form that decides they must go. For they stand in the way of progress, and progress we must, it's never enough to stand still to be in the moment, and so the trees (those that stand still and stay in the moment longest) must go. Those that are most how we want to be are those that must fall.
Imagine them as old souls, shaking their heads at the foolishness of the young. Our future generations will shake their heads also: how could we have let the world get to this way? When we have so much power and so much say and yet still the old ones fall.
Again though, it's the colour. It's winter now and when I look at these wonderful birch trees I see the silver against the blue. Riches against honour, and I appreciate, but think forward to the spring, to the green bursting from the buds and from the earth around. Will the trees still stand? Will the leaves still spring? Will I miss them, these glorious celebrations of all that's good and right in this world? Will you?