“Stop everything! It’s snowing”, squeaked the birch to the vast, naked oak as icy flakes fluttered slowly – down, down, down, to the lightly dusted ground. Snow had been long overdue. Tiny tips of green had already begun to sprout from the very ends of the birch’s branches as winter drew to a pass. The oak gently shuddered and dipped its limbs to allow the snow to slip off the ends.
“It isn’t as if I can do anything but stand here anyway, dear, birch. My growth slows in the cold.”
The birch didn’t seem to hear much, too excited by the snowfall to listen. Oak didn’t mind too much, however. It was quite content watching the younger tree as it trembled every time the crisp wind licked its crusty, season-beaten bark.
“Be careful that you don’t get sick this year, birch. It would be an awful shame if you lost another branch.” Oak tenderly nudged at birch, being careful not to injure any more of its branches. The oak was much older than the birch, and therefore much stronger. Last winter was particularly nasty and the branches in the crown of the birch had been battered by the bluster. If the birch didn’t allow itself to slow, oak feared that it might fall victim to the same fate again this year.
As days passed, the sun started to rise earlier in the morning, but the snow continued mercilessly. Most nearby trees went into complete hibernation, waking only to soak in sunlight before drifting back into a warm slumber. The oak wistfully wished for enough sleep to last this final winter’s month, but decided against it, thinking it best to keep an eye on its ever-excitable best friend. Whenever the wind picked up, the oak allowed its thick branches to prop up the birch to keep it just as strong. Only sometimes, it wasn’t nearly enough. Several twigs had already fallen to the ground from birch’s dying branches.
Only a few days left to go, thought the oak tree. Several of birch’s branches had begun to nestle again the oak’s own, but by now, the oak had sprouted just enough leaves to keep birch’s broken branches warm until it had enough strength to stand on its own again. Every day for the past month, the birch had woken the oak with the same gleeful exclamation about the snow; oak found this endearing, and warned birch to be careful each time, just as it did the first time it had awoken to the snowfall. However, this day was different. The birch hummed in contentment as the last snowflake fell to the ground, yawning immediately after. It seemed as if the birch had tired itself out in time for spring, where the oak was happy to help the birch grow its leaves again.
The birch slowly straightened as the days grew warmer, mumbling blissfully between yawns to the oak.
“Be careful that you don’t get burnt this year, oak. It would be an awful shame if you lost another branch.”