March comes chilly in this part of the world, where Winter reigns almost all the year round, but I noticed today that the crab-apple tree on my front lawn was beginning to bud - tiny, red sprouts of life. Of course, with the snowfall from last night, I am left to wonder whether those sprouts will die or if they will somehow survive being encased in their frozen tombs, their tiny life preserved for the great thawing of a gently warming spring day.

I love that tree almost as much as I love my personal birch tree in my childhood home, a tree planted the day I was born as a commemorative event by my father. Like the crab-apple tree, my white birch was frozen, a dressing of the palest snow clinging to the slender white branches. Between the two trees was a curious feeling - I was trapped between a moment in time, a flash of the camera that made the world stop, and I was freely walking the landscape of a memory. The crab-apple and birch tree were both presently frozen, literally and figuratively, in a state of blooming life and slumbering death. My birch, the signature of my life and body, slept quietly, did not bloom and breath, but took to bide its time for the coming spring. The crab-apple, quick to blossom and live, impatient, free from responsibility, attempted to take advantage of these unnaturally warm days to breath again. Would the crab-apple regret its decision to blossom this early? Do the birds that have returned for the spring regret arriving just in time for the blizzards?

I am so curious sometimes, when I sit here on my porch, wrapped warm in a winter jacket with a pipe in my left hand and a book in the other. I don't usually read outdoors when it is so chilly, but I could not help but join this tree in its urgent desire to live again. Maybe the birch was the wiser, and its patience would mean that its delicate green leaves could whisper of its long dream sooner to me than the wild teasing of the flowering tree. But there are times when one simply wants to wake up and accept the world for as it is in the now.