Winter Forest

by Marion L. Ritcey


“Hey Oscar, can you feel that? I think it is the sun,” Fred commented. “Winter must be here. It is our time in the forest.”

“Yes,” replied Oscar, “the maples, oaks and other trees  have shed their leaves  for the winter. Now is the best time for us. We can see and feel the warm sun on our needles. But my toes are cold, Oscar.”

“This is going to be a great winter for us,” Fred said, remembering last winter with all the snow.

Oscar  did not want to think about that. His branches took a beating with the heavy weight of the snow on them all the time. Let’s just enjoy the warm sun on us for now. Spring will come soon enough. The maples and  oaks will bud out again and over shadow us. Fred thought about what the maples have to go through in the spring. Wow being tapped for sap just when they were waking up from a long winters nap was not something he wanted to go through. Just so people could have maple sugar. Oscar reminded Fred about the women who came looking for his pine cones. She even tried to climb his trunk to get ones he was still holding onto. Just to make a wreath for her door. The wreath would have been beautiful since it was going to have some of his pine cones on it. He still did not like the women climbing on him. Since she had spiked heels on and they hurt. He had sympathy with the maple tree for getting tapped. It sure hurt.

Oscar and Fred talked for a while then took a nap in the warm winter afternoon.

See this is the only time of year they are the  trees with any color. Yes it is shades of green but it is there just the same. You drive down any street and all you see is the bare branches of the summer trees. But among them  are the proud and tall pine trees. They enjoy trying to reach the sun and see who gets taller during this time of year. The different pine trees are all colors of green. Some dark some light and even  yellow/green. But they all stay green through the winter.

Fred and Oscar woke up from their nap to see the snow flakes  gently falling  all around them. They talked more about how much snow they thought they would get. Hoping it was not heavy and wet. That hurt the most. If it was the light and fluffy kind they would be happy. Because when the sun and wind came up it might melt and blow away. See even now the ducks are feeding and having fun. Their tails up in the air as the dive for food.

Maybe some children would come  build a snowman . Or   stay a while  on the pond across the street to play hockey or just skate. Fred told Oscar about  a long time ago when the boys and girls would build  a fire and roast potatoes to eat after skating the afternoon away. That was fun to see everyone out having  a good time on a cold afternoon. Oscar was too young to have seen that but he could  see it by the way Fred talked about it. Fred told him about the boys in their brown wool pants and hats on  just so. The long black coats and hand made mittens of every color of the rainbow.  The girls in their long dresses with pants underneath to keep them warm.  Maybe even some in brightly colored snowsuits of red or blue. The girls would do spins and twirls on the ice. While the boys found sticks and a rock to play hockey till it got dark. Fred was telling Oscar how he thought he should have lowered his branches to keep the wind down so the children would not get cold and go home.

When the adults came they would put on a show. Oh so fine with their dance moves on the ice. Gliding across the frozen pond as if music was playing. They would glide and spin just so. As if they were at a fancy ball all dressed in fine clothes. Fred and Oscar hoped the pond would stay frozen all year round, but they knew it would not.

Oscar then reminded Fred about the people who canoed on the pond in the summer. The families would build fires and roast hot dogs and have a picnic. Fred said that was fun to watch, too. So they agreed that the seasons, all four, had something to offer.

Oscar had one more surprise for Fred. He had found a picture of the two of them when they were young.

“Hey that’s us when we were just saplings. How did you get that?”  Oscar replied, “I have my ways.”

“We will grow taller and enjoy many more seasons together.”