Do you ever walk out of the house in the morning - school run, shopping, work - and the air is cold and crisp, without autumn damp? Do you ever think, it smells like winter?
I do. And yesterday morning that's exactly what happened. And I was glad, because although autumn is gorgeous, it's dying, and winter is death - which as far as I'm concerned is easier to live with. Dying is a slow process where the watchers are forced to accept that they're losing and there isn't anything to be done. Death is an absolute, and it ends that dreadful period of waiting, knowing.
Spring is wet and chilly and the only good thing about it is when the snow melts and you think, wow. All of this is still here.
It doesn't die, under the snow. When everything thaws, frost and hearts, the warmth and the life is still there.
And so winter isn't really death, because every single leaf that falls in that dying autumn - yes, those leaves will rot and be trodden underfoot and swept away by men in green jackets with silly-looking, glorified brooms, but the tree itself will grow new leaves. And the tree is alive. The leaf itself, whatever purposes it may serve, is simply an organ of a greater organism.
Yes, this is basic science. Yes, I'm still repeating it. Because no matter how many times people say it, it's still amazing. In the human body, we lose and replace cells all the time. We barely notice. The short moments when we graze skin and wait for it to heal - they are inconveniences.
Such is winter for a tree.