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One thing I love about winter is being able to see the skeletons of trees. Their framework is endlessly interesting, informative and entertaining. Some trees are filled with tiny twigs while others are sparer or even sleek. One tree sprawls horizontally while another has branches that reach straight upward into the sky.

The bones of a tree are a road map that leads to its history. Trunks that curve or zigzag have probably formed these shapes by dodging around other trees or neighboring branches in their youth. Looking at two trees that spouted next to each other, you can see how their trunks and tops have grown in opposite directions in order to each receive the sunlight it requires.

Walking in the afternoon on the shortest days of the year, I admire the graphics formed by branches and twigs against the sky. I imagine living black lace and messages spelling out what I need to know…and will find if I squint just right.

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