the unique beauty of the arbutus

IMG 2549 rain polished arbutus

When we set out for our walking expedition today, to one of our favourite island spots, I had no idea I’d see it differently from any other of the many times I’d walked that trail.

The rain was falling steadily but slowed to a sort of misty drizzle by the time we hit the trail. The clouds were hanging low on the hills, draping them with varying shades of gray. The islands up the channel were a faded gray green, the water calm and so still that the rings of each raindrop was discernible til its rings blended with those around.  It was all very lovely in a wintry desolate way— not a person in sight or a voice to be heard. Even the ducks were in hiding. The only wildlife we saw was a pair of otters playing on the rocks. But they too scooted away, surprised to see us, thinking perhaps the weather was providing them freedom from interlopers.

But it was the extraordinary sheen of the arbutus, its smooth bark glistening in the rain that was the greatest delight.  It looked as though someone had spent hours polishing it with wax or painted it with high gloss shellac, and the effect was to show every bend and twist of the trunk and branches —each tree we came upon unique in how the years  and circumstance had shaped them.

The rain’s gift was to show me those trees in a different way than I’d ever noted before. It was the detail, the strange beauty of the contortions and adaptations to weather, breakage, erosion, and all of it, beautiful— washed clean and gleaming even on such a day as this.

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