Out here, eyes are unnecessary.
This is what I say to the children
I've been asked to supervise
this dismal February week,
out here in the mountains -
the woodland -
Out here you can feel the trees;
the sheer weight of their presence -
physical, tangible -
envelopes you like snow,
a shiver in the soul.
Biting wind wailing through the branches
raises the hairs on the back of your neck,
and you tremble
like saplings in a storm.
Rain and ice and something in-between
drip down from the leaves above.
You feel its caress against your flesh,
taste the kiss of the frozen forest
against your lips, face upturned to the
You know it's there -
you can smell it:
deep and ancient and
heavy with pungent memory.
Pine isn't a variety
of air-freshener, children.
It is alive with the spirit of the earth.
Pine outlasts this brittle season
when all else cowers from the cold.
Evergreen stands proud
against battering wind,
against rain coating its tresses
with the scent of a tear-soaked sky.
So keep your eyes closed, children;
let the darkness fill your bones
and you will come to know the winter
as only the wild can.