Trees that stand alone like forgotten soldiers. Buds frozen, waiting in line. The earth exposed.
There's no enmeshment of leaves and life.
I've never really considered December a part of the cold one, there's too much anticipation of candles, and wrapping paper, and mulled wine.
Then January arrives, stark with anti-climax.
But if you look closer, then closer still, there are details and clues in the drab and the dreary.
Branches that point like compass points - the new year, full of direction.
There's emerald green holly, coloured glass impressed on painted bark, a friendless pink flower that shouts, "oi, over 'ere mate, c'mon look at me!"
There's yeti prints in snow, icicles like daggers, and feathery frost on dried leaves and pointed shoots.
And then there's an exposed tree trunk - a kind of park totem - that's wrapped in glazed papier mache rings, each one a committed memory of a political hero or an ornament to the dead.
I realise there are rings both inside and outside the bark. I wonder how much longer the external bands will age before disintegrating into paper flakes, carried on a whisper in the air. Of course the tree won't notice, will carry on regardless.
I've tried to persuade Little A otherwise but to no avail. It's first names only.
But I've convinced myself there's something quite radical, quite liberating about being addressed by my name. It releases me from the narrow confines of 'mummy' - I'm a whole person and my daughter's friend. Our bond is loosened, made flexible, creating, for me, a healthy respect for our separateness.
Still, I blame Little A's rebellion on the winter, the season of her birth, and that she's an Aquarian - independent to a fault.
Please call me mummy. Please.
This is the third day of the seasonal linky One Week. Over the next few days (until Friday) I'll be posting a photograph(s) and a few words that diarises and distills my experience of winter '13. Take a peep at the details here. You can join in for one, two ... or the full five days. And don't forget to add #oneweek on Twitter, and comment on each others posts...
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<a href="http://older-mum.blogspot.co.uk/p/one-week.html" title="One Week"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8436/7807711152_5f912c7903_m.jpg" width="225" height="169" alt="one week" /></a>