A girl and birch trees

Those of us who are writers get so many ideas from the world around us.

Sometimes I am struck by this overwhelming desire to write because of something that I’ve just seen or heard. I want to just stop whatever it is that I’m doing and start to write. Sometimes I will. Most other times, I’m busy. So, I’ll grab my phone and type a quick reminder -even if it’s just two words- to help me remember the idea later when I’ve got time to write. The other day it was the birch trees.

I was struck with this idea to write about birch trees while eating lunch at “What a Bagel” with my 4-year-old daughter. The grocery store across the street was selling branches of them outside in buckets. They weren’t branches even but rather 2-3 foot sections of branches. Beside them were many other possible additions to “spruce up” that winter planter – pine cones on sticks and an assortment of evergreen branches.

It was those sections of birch tree branches that really got to me though.  Lately they are in all the wintery themed planters, often together in groups of 2 or 3 in the middle of the spruce and pine needles surrounding it.

I saw those birch tree branches and I was sad.

I felt such an urgent need to just sit down and write about them. I want to save them.

I can’t help but wonder what someone was thinking when they thought to cut up a birch tree branch and stick it in the middle of a planter? It doesn’t even look like a tree anymore because both ends have been taken off.

They remind me of those store mannequins that I have seen in stores the odd time that are missing their heads. Without those branches on the top, something important to the birch tree seems to be missing.

I have a fondness for birch trees because we have them all over our cottage up North. Their white branches are so elegant. They are unlike any other tree.

As I ate lunch with my daughter I felt that my winter short story could be about birch trees. And I want to be the birch tree. Mmm…a girl who’s a birch tree, I thought, as I took the last bite of my marble-rye bagel.

What would that girl, who is a birch tree, look like? I thought of the skin or bark of the tree and how it peels so easily. That, in turn, made me think of my sensitive skin – I had excema as a child and to this day,  my skin reacts easily to bug bites and things that I eat.

Yeah, it could work., a very interesting character began to take shape in my mind. A beautifully tall and elegant young woman with alabaster skin, that is very sensitive to the touch. She’s trapped in this body, and appears human, but she is really part birch tree.

What would she think seeing trees like herself being sold in buckets?

Imagine all that running through my mind, in a matter of minutes, while eating lunch at “What a Bagel.”

And it all came back to me to write in my blog, as I looked down at my phone, and saw that reminder memo, “a girl and birch trees.”

p.s. If you have one of those planters – with birch tree branches – you may want to hide them before I come over. 🙂

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