And within the barren fields of Winter, there was, among the grass gone brown from the cold, from the dying sun, a line of trees that stood against the horizon. Tall and thick-limbed, overgrown with gnarls and twists, and they blocked the way to the beyond. We stood in a line, the hills to our back and the hills to the future, and we could not tell the time, for the sun was obscured by the dull grey dome that is the sky in perpetual lateness. Hard ground beneath our feet, and the line of trees was not forboding but forbidding.
No way forward, and the way we had come was only mountains threatening taller and taller.
Through the branches, I could see the white. I could see the delicate. I could see the lace of sycamores, silver and singing, and I was not sure of my place anymore. Something ephemeral danced there, something beyond the branches, where, across a line I could not see but knew existed, there was a field, low and fresh, that still hung sweet with spring.
We stood there, in a line, and looked through the trees while the grey sky fell slowly, threatening blankets of snow, ice that would keep us from ever advancing. We stood there, and looked to the white lace of branches beyond branches, and thought of spring beneath hills we had not yet seen. We thought of a sky that rained sunlight in blue-golden, and where we would not hear the rustle of frozen leaves and cold-cawing crows. Where the silver-white of sycamore was not the color of the frost on the ground, but the white of snowdrops come early, knowing nothing of midwinter’s meaning.
We stood there and knew that there was dancing, beyond that line, and that above all, it was not for us.