Photos: Embracing Beauty of Winter at Arnold Arboretum

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I try to keep my voice down when I speak of my love for winter. I’ve learned that almost no one wants to hear it. Yet at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, I fall in love with this stark but lovely season once again.

Valentina Iacobciuc (left) and Elena Fevraleva frolic in the Conifer Collection at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University while on break from their nursing work at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. Photos by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

It’s November on my first visit — everything is shades of brown and the sky is nearly entirely gray. Standing halfway up Peters Hill, the only sound is a nearby rustling in the bushes, then silence, then cawing overhead, then silence. Suddenly, a hawk flies over me, clutching something. I inch closer to her tree; all thoughts of a hearty breakfast leave me as I see the hawk gnawing and tugging at the guts of her prey.

On another visit, the all-brown landscape has been replaced by white blankets of snow. A half-dozen children run through a grove of fir trees. They play outside every day, their teacher tells me, no matter the weather. They laugh and chase each other, snow falling around them. Later that morning, on Hemlock Hill, I meet two health care workers on break from the nearby Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. Like the children, they throw snow in the air and run through the trees. I’ve met my mates and for now, I’m tuning out the naysayers. Winter is upon us and some of us — we’re smiling.

Photos by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

A lost hat on the Bussey Street Gate.

Enormous fir and spruce trees in the Conifer Collection.

Birds compete for fruits in a tree on Peters Hill.

The wind sends milkweed seeds from their pods to the field below.

Winter’s starkness is evident on the thorns of a honey locust tree.

A hawk guarding its prey.

Grass pokes through a snowy footstep.

Anthony Apesos of Jamaica Plain makes his own footsteps. Apesos is a winter landscape artist who will show his work at the Arboretum in 2020.

Eating homemade snow cones on Peters Hill.

While the December snow falls, autumn leaves still cling to a beech tree by the South Street Gate.

John Jacobs of Roslindale commutes through the Arnold Arboretum. He sometimes sees coyotes and other wildlife on his walks there, and he keeps an Instagram page of the pictures he takes.

This article was originally posted on The Harvard Gazette, and has been republished in Jamaica Plain News with the Arnold Arboretum's permission.