Stubborn enough to get through winter

"This hill
crossed with broken pines and maples
lumpy with the burial mounds of
uprooted hemlocks (hurricane
of ’38) out of their
rotting hearts generations rise
trying once more to become
the forest

just beyond them  
tall enough to be called trees  
in their youth like aspen a bouquet  
of young beech is gathered

they still wear last summer’s leaves   
the lightest brown almost translucent  
how their stubbornness has decorated   
the winter woods"

- - Grace Paley, "A Walk in March''

I remember as a boy being struck by how so many of those ugly brown oak leaves hung on the trees on our windswept hilltop near Massachusetts Bay until they were pushed out by the new buds in the spring. Of course that's not nearly as amazing as flowers coming out of the ground only a few weeks after that ground was frozen solid.

-- Robert Whitcomb