poetry and prose about place

snow hollow at the base of a tree

with 11 comments

Words are the tools of a writer’s craft.  I literally wallow in words when I write a poem.  Sometimes the right word comes immediately to mind.  Sometimes I have to search for it, sometimes for days or weeks.  When I do the final edits for a poem, I ‘press’ on every word, to make sure it is absolutely right.

Sometimes, I encounter an idea or image that seems to have no word.  For example, I have searched for a word referring to the charming hollow that builds next to the base of a tree when the snow falls.  Sometimes small animals use this hollow for a temporary den.  Sometimes it’s a place where debris gathers, as it does in the corners of alleyways.  Sometimes it is a calm, beckoning place where snow shadows rest in shades of olive green and blue.    

I wonder if there is a name for these elusive places, perhaps in another language.



snow hollow


snow shuns the tree

manifest in the hollow

the empty gather of wind

at the base of the fir


where snow-shoe hares find

shelter or dry leaves skipping

across a crust of snow

assemble and rest


inside curve to fit

the spine of an animal

the heart of a man

curled against the cold


a place where shadows meet

select blue from the prism of all

indigo to illustrate the space

of no snow, no warmth, no light




©  Jane Tims  2011


Written by jane tims

December 26, 2011 at 10:41 am

11 Responses

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  1. Several years ago, I had the same dilemma and decided to call them tree wells. Now I see I’m not the only one!


    Deborah Carr

    December 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    • Tree wells…I like this term! However, all our tree wells are gone again today!!! Jane


      jane tims

      December 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm

  2. I always thought of those places as magical when I was a child. It is where I would go to enter another world, a snow portal.

    Love this post, Jane. It’s beautiful. 🙂



    December 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    • Hi Robin. Thanks! And ‘snow portal’ is a great name for these spaces! Jane


      jane tims

      December 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      • Like Robin, I used to spend a lot of time in these “snow portals” when I was little. I like that name! Definitely a place of wonder and magic… I want to climb into your photo, Jane!


        Barbara Rodgers

        January 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

      • Small, cozy spaces… Jane


        jane tims

        January 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

  3. Lovely, Jane!



    December 27, 2011 at 10:51 am

    • Up on the mountain we call them ‘tree wells’.



      December 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      • Hi. That’s the second name I’ve recieved… If I get enough, I’ll run a poll! Jane


        jane tims

        December 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  4. How about Snow dish!
    Merry Christmas Jane.



    December 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    • Hi Jim. Awesome suggestion. If I get enough suggestions, I will run a poll! Thanks and Merry Christmas! Jane


      jane tims

      December 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm

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