Birches

When I was 16 we studied Robert Frost’s poem Birches for my 11th grade American Lit class. The language of the poem had me visualizing the winters I was accustomed to growing up, in the homeland of birches and conifers. It brought me back to the annual sleigh rides through the bush, my entire family piled in and bundled up in snowsuits, our cheeks flushed with the kiss of Jack Frost. I miss that because it totally represented Christmas – everything about it, including the sounds. The whish of the sleigh plowing through the snow on the trail… the snapping of branches and the clomping of horseshoes, the jingles of the bells with every step… and even the silence of the dead of winter. If you listened carefully, you could hear a pin drop. That’s maybe the only thing I do like about the winter.

But one of the visualizations I can recall with absolute clarity was looking into the bush as we glided past, through the jumbo snowflakes that fall slowly on a calm, cold day, and seeing birches. Rows and rows of them, scattered in and amongst cedars and pines and looking very ominous in comparison because they were so skinny, barren and pale. And I always wanted to jump off the sleigh and run through them, ducking under all the bent branches and collapse under them in the dense snow. So birches were a part of my winter every year and after we moved south, I never got to see them.

So when we studied Birches, I grew more attached to it than anyone else and it’s been my favourite poem since. It speaks to what I feel when I think of my childhood. Luckily I now live in an area heavily populated by these amazing trees, and I’ve been really toying with some ideas for how to incorporate them into my home.

What I came up with is an idea to have a birch branch, or small tree, that runs from ceiling to floor in some corner of my house, that I can secure with some kind of angular bracket. I want it to have branches so I can make a string of black and white lanterns to hang on it.

So, I dragged Len out to the woods today and my quest was to simply locate a branch that would be big enough for what I need, but I ended up finding a tree that was perfect, so he hacked it down for me. It’s a little TOO big, so we’re going to do some trimming and measuring and whatever is left over will be used for something else. I’m honestly SO excited to do this!

My friend Sharron wanted some branches if I came across them, so I also picked some up for her that I found broken off or laying on the ground.

So, I imagine we’ll be working on that tomorrow, and once it’s completed I’ll show you what it looks like 🙂

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