Bare Trees: A Season of Rest

My favorite thing about winter is the silhouetted beauty of bare trees against the light of dawn. I love the shapes of the branches and how they reach heavenward as well as the negative space between the limbs– forming sky-colored puzzle pieces of emptiness.


The quietness of the season comes as such a relief from the days of fall and the pressing in of the holidays. The most I hope for is at least one blanketing of snow to cover the earth with the purest of light, and to attach to those tree limbs giving soft white accents to the gray bark.

In order to gain the bareness of winter trees, the variegated colors of autumn leaves must be lost.

I haven’t thought much about how this happens. When I searched the internet for a clear explanation, I found this, slightly paraphrased, from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis:

With the season change, weather and daylight trigger a hormone that releases a chemical message to each leaf that it’s time to prepare for winter. This process is a must for trees’ survival. In spring and summer, leaves convert sunlight into energy producing the verdant canopy of new growth. During that process, the trees lose a lot of water – so much so that when winter arrives, the trees are no longer able to get enough water to replace it.

Last October when I was keeping my grandson, Baker, he loved walking outside through the fallen leaves. There was a quick burst of wind and the leaves fell from the trees. We had fun trying to catch them. I told him the leaves were “falling” and that’s why we call the season Fall.


But now, I learn that the word “fall” is a bit misleading. It implies that the trees are passive during that season, when, in fact, they are actively “pushing” the leaves off their branches. It’s interesting now to learn more about nature’s perfect timing:

Abscission cells form a bumpy line at the place where the leaf stem meets the branch. And slowly, but surely, the leaf is “pushed” from the tree branch.

When I pondered what to write about this week, the image of the bare tree kept coming to mind. Now as I consider this process of losing leaves and needing water to go into the next season, I feel like that’s what I’m experiencing.

During January, I’ve felt the need for more sleep, more quiet time that’s like the negative space between bare tree branches. My energy has been used up over the past months of my journey and now I want only to focus on what’s absolutely necessary. I’m steadily working to get things in order for the next steps in this separation process. It requires me being more strategic with my time– how I spend my days working interspersed with relaxing with friends and family.

I see Spring and Summer in the distance and know that I’ll need the energy to ‘gear up’ for what lies ahead: putting our house on the market, helping my son and his family move into their first home, moving into my next home.

And did I tell you– that I’m going to be a Grandmother again in early July? Yes, a new joy and a busy family time.

Recently, a friend in Ireland sent me a picture of trees that inspire her. How serendipitous to receive that photo now while I’ve had the image of bare trees on my heart.


Trees in Coole Park, Ireland where WB Yeats spent a lot of time

So in this season of winter, of bare trees and cold nights, I will allow nature’s process to inform and inspire me, as I hope it does you. May we relax in the rest and renewal of this time and await the promise of what is to come.

How About You?

What is this Winter Season like for you?

In what ways can you find relaxation and renewal?

16 thoughts on “Bare Trees: A Season of Rest

  1. Connie, Hidden in your act to learn about trees and Nature you have stumbled onto a very unique period of all in life. We should spend more time trying to understand this Creation that is set before us. When you take time to understand you gain perspectives on many other realms of that which is around us. I have found that all things are so interconnected that all seem to flow in unison. I like your act of utilizing the space to fill in the material. You may be onto something here.
    Great post and I look forward to your next jaunt into yourself. With warmth and understanding, John.


    • Hey John,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. I’m curious about your statement, “I like your act of utilizing the space to fill in the material.” I wish you’d say more about that so I’m sure I get what you mean.
      Yes, I think the more I seek to learn about nature– that I’ve taken for granted much of my life, the more I see that all things are connected. For me, God is the Alpha and Omega and that goes through all of creation–in whatever way everything was and is being formed.
      Best to you,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this!! The beautiful metaphor of the woods in how the trees lose their leaves each fall and then burst into bloom in the Spring has always resonated with me. I’m so glad you are taking this season of rest seriously and are giving yourself the time you need to be ready to bloom. Love and light to you. ❤️❤️


  3. I am so pleased that the photograph of the bare trees I sent you resonates so much and how serendipitous that they arrived when this was the very image you were holding in your mind. I too am drawn irresistibly to both the image and the metaphor of stark trees in winter and loved reading your post today.


  4. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

    • Thanks so much for sending that serendipitous photo, Marie. I think we draw so much from trees. They’re universal and accessible to all, whether in the west of Ireland or down my street in North Carolina in the States. We, who’ve been through cancer treatment, are like Tall Oaks– prevailing.
      Best to everyone in the week ahead,


  5. Thanks so much, Marie. I like that trees are a constant in nature and whenever we need this metaphor– it’s there. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my post and really appreciate your support.
    Best to you,


  6. Yes! I have absolutely leaned in and cozied up over winter ~ more sleep, more rest, more reading, more soup, just more.
    and it has been wonderful!

    Enjoyed this post, and the beautiful bare trees, very much. ~ MJ


    • Hey MJ,
      I’m glad you’re enjoying winter and nurturing yourself with the ‘best of the season.’ Just as the trees need a time to restore, so do we.
      Thanks for reading, MJ and sharing from your life.
      Best to you,


  7. Funnily enough, this morning, before I read this, I woke up and noticed that the paintings in the room I’m staying in are of bare winter trees and spent time gazing at the pictures, thinking about the bare beauty of winter trees, the promise of spring and the passing of the seasons in our lives. X


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