Deep in the ancient Hazel woods, lies a dark pool of water, fringed with golden tassels. Swaying slightly in the soft winter air, they glow brightly against the deep blue waters below. Hidden beneath the surface of the water the sacred salmon swim, teasing us with glittering scales from the watery other world below.
The hazel tassels ripple in the slight breeze, golden flags sent as a promise of the sun filled days to come. A signal of the truce drawn between winter and her short cold days, and the warm long days of summer which wait in the wings for their cue. Joyful to behold after the grey cloth of winter, this is priceless gold, lifting the spirits and filling us with hope.
True treasures of nature, these gold filled catkins will yield crops of sweet nuts, when summer dares to a close on the other side of the year. For now they dress the hazel trees in splendid cloth of gold, as regal as anything woven by man on a loom. Their brightness against the clear winter sky, a welcome surprise, transforming this secluded pool into a wonder of the woods. I can see the lingering breath of the delighted wood spirit who splashed this yellow paint with wild abandon and a wide smile. It’s contagious and I can almost believe that summer has arrived, until a chill wind bites me through my thick coat and woollen hat. Winter lives on but these golden treasures hold the promise of warmth, as they have for millions of years. Our ancestors were teased and inspired by the same golden tassels of the wild hazel woods in winter, and would return for the sacred nuts of wisdom when the seasons turned.
Find lots more treasures at the weekly photo challenge.