November 17, 2016
It’s mid-November. Even the oaks have shed their leaves. Of all the birds that were with us in summer only a few–the chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches–remain to visit the feeder. The landscape is now a study in beige, brown, and gray.
But this spare, subdued world is not without moments of astonishing vibrancy. On the verge of a dark, leafless stand of woods, or across an expanse of wizened marsh grass, one suddenly becomes aware of floating, cloud-like clusters of brilliant, red-orange berries. These are the fruit of the winterberry (Ilex verticulata), small, vivid globes of cheer that cling to the shrub’s smooth gray twigs long after its leaves have dropped. Their appearance in this season of ebbing life can seem pretty close to magical.
Will your fire disappear
if we rub our eyes?