On the way down the towpath this last week the branches have been showing a faint blush of red, the bud-swelling precursor of leaves to come. Soon they'll start to fill in with pastel pale new leaves and the beautiful hard shapes of winter branches will be veiled with a yellow-green haze. I'm always a little sad to see the tracery of black branches go; on a bright winter evening the deciduous hedges rest like lace on blue satin, a beautiful edging for the cold black land. On snowy mornings, the snow rests like extra highlights in the crooks and lines of the branches. Look up this week, for the last clean view of bare winter trees.