The sky is a lighter blue than you expect. In contrast and shadow, the trees are a purple bruise on the skyline, dominating in their presence with creeping fingers and sickly branches that feather across the pale cobalt sky. Your white breath hovers, and then melts back in to the air as your feet crunch over the trees fallen brethren. Like writhing steam escaping from a crack in the volcanic ground, the trees are twisting, ugly things that have lost any and all covering they might have once had to hide their shame. The trunks are thick and knotted, while their branches lean up with their wintry fingers light and easily breakable.

Nothing is as symmetrical as you expect.

All the leaves have rotten, as natural things must, and the ground is bereft of any cover except the patch of melting snow to your right. The earth is cold and frozen, feeling more elevated and somehow larger than usual, as if the great spinning ball of water and numerous microorganisms has somehow become heavier in the winter, clouding the dark unenlightened space with its hurtling mass and throwing everything out of orbit.

Or perhaps that is simply the headache you have manifesting itself in the form of paranoid self-defeating consummation.

You haven't been out here five minutes already and you're cold, although the natural landscape seems to have no problem with the flagrant lack of sun here, indeed the moss strangling the trees seem to grow better without it.

There are mushrooms as well, which shouldn't surprise you as its Washington with all its rain and snow and lack of any civilized standard of living as the trees can tell you, if they ever felt the need to grace your day by opening their craggy mouths and indulging in semi-intelligent conversation and thus convincing you for once and all that you have completely lost what semblance of a mind you've convinced people that you have.

Especially if you start by sitting down for a conversational cup of tea with the near dying stumps of glorified printing paper.

You can almost hear the mocking of the trees as you shiver a little, trying to reclaim body heat. Yes, you are puny human in the face of natural glory, the wonder of the world, the horrifying power of nature, and the rest of that bull shit. They just look like a bunch of trees with better insulation than you. Which you hate them for at this moment.

You're waiting for that one revelational moment, when the beauty of nature strikes you with the force of a great tsunami, blinding you in its glory, making you insignificant jellyfish in the face of great wide world.

Of course, it doesn't come.

And you kind of like jellyfish.

You sigh, mutter about the barbarity of winter, and scuff at what little grass there is to be found on this stereotypically barren ground. It's getting a little darker now, more light coming from the side of civilization than the great ball of burning fire, and there aren't any convenient yet formulaic stumps to rest your cold self on, so you start heading back to civilization and hope that the trees don't rise up and eat you.

But of course they won't.

Because all in the end, they are only trees, as you know very well.