The leaves fall dead. Upon the frozen ground is where they now lay, withered and useless, no longer part of something big or beautiful. It’s amazing to think that when tree and leaf are combined, a spectacle of majesty is formed; when separated, both variables seem naked, cold… sickly. The foreground blends into the background as the canvas is washed in grayscale monotony. All the colour and life is sucked down beneath the ground, suffocated by the sleeping, white precipitation. As if someone were to imbue the very air with tiny little needles, it was difficult to breathe, for fear of the cold to choke your throat. The usual flowery smell that once lingered around the nostrils, was now too strong to even stomach. I daren’t sit upon my usual bench; the bench that told a hundred stories past, now just a few planks of wood nailed together and covered in frost. We have a lot in common: the bench and I. From where I stood, I could see the same old bird house, hanging from the same old oaken branch. The birds that lived there were probably far away from here for the winter. I wish I had more in common with the birds than a rotten bench. Where are the songs of magpies and robins? The music is replaced by whatever leaf one happens to step on: a crunch as the deceased flora take their final breaths beneath careless feet. All I could taste was the salt in my mouth from a runny nose and leaking ducts. How many more times was I going to wander down this same path, expecting it to be different each time?
Oh, what a wonderland. Snow as far as the eye can see made it hard to tell where the land ended and the sky began. Everything around me screamed of Winter. How differently the park seemed without colour, but it retained its own splendor even so. The naked trees stand like a flock of zebras lined up in one long row, striped and proud. They watch as their old leaves are trod on whilst they prepare to bloom green when spring arrives. The infectious sound of crunching prevails throughout the air, daring the passersby to rhythmically plan their next steps or keep to a steady metronome. Even if it hurts to breathe in the frigid atmosphere, I do it anyway just to take in the full aroma of old bark. If anything, the cold merely adds a bit of a kick to it. Never usually do I come here alone, but today felt like a better day than any to visit the ancient memory bench. It still was as I always remembered it; dented with age and marks which each told a story of their own, and I knew all of them. The layer of ice wasn’t enough to stop me from sitting down. I knew my trousers could stop most of the moisture from travelling to my skin, though I wouldn’t mind too much if it did. The birdhouse was still around too, hanging valiantly from the stalwart oak’s branch. The magpies and robins were away on holiday, soaking up the sun on southern beaches. I await their songs like an adamant fan, but for now, I shall simply hum until their return.