As some rummaged skirt from discarded Christmas tree, shattered branches strew the ground about apple's gnarled and venerable bole. Arthritic roots dig deep beneath autumn's mulch, blanketed from sharp frost's prizing talons and, bare against watered winter sky, knotted branches offer up the storm frayed remnants of blackbird nest.

Sap is still, silent beneath the scars of a century of summer searing, winter wilding, spring sprouting and autumn offering. Soon soft Spring will coax pale blossom and sap will hum. Beetles will creep from woody crevice and blackbirds rebuild, to raise new life.

Two birds singing on a broken branch.