Red Berries, Blue Cones

December 3, 2021

Bright winter sun, pale blue sky. A panel of clouds created a chill as I started out, but then it dissipated. A bright sun broke out, making such a difference on a cold day. I was underdressed again, even though I had a fleece, down vest, hat and gloves. A vest is not enough and a scarf is essential—at least for me. I had plenty of time, but a leisurely walk is difficult in the cold weather. A brisk walk keeps you warm, so I went quickly. The thing I noticed today was the winterberry bushes, which are laden with their bright red berries. To see a stand of these is such a cheer—the berries are this orangey-scarlet red, perfectly round and clustered so pleasingly. These are in the holly family, and it shows. The berries this year are plentiful.

December 5, 2021

Today the sky is that pale winter blue, and the sun is bright. There is no breeze, and it feels still and warm. It was a gentle afternoon as I walked around a very old cemetery in town. You could see the blue haze of the mountains here and there, and the sun slanted on the old gravestones. The trees here are majestic, allowed to grow as big as they want without competition. There is a juniper tree (I refuse to call it a red cedar) there that is huge, and this year it is heavy with blue berries, or more properly, cones. They are also extremely abundant this year, and when you see a fruitful tree it almost looks blue it is so full. There are many trees without berries as it’s the female trees that bear the fruit. Cedar waxwings, gorgeous birds with black masks over their eyes, love the fruit and swarm in flocks, chattering to each other as they gorge.

Notes: It’s been a very warm and rainy fall, as we turn slowly into winter. There’s talk of an accumulation of snow for Wednesday. Will it happen? I sure hope so.

Always feel free to write me at julia.c.sforza at gmail dot com.