branches1Although the trees are now completely bare, there was something addicting about watching the leaves float and flutter down from the trees in a soft breeze or be hastened to their demise by blowing, howling winds and rains which exposed the naked branches, invisible in the height of sunny summer, green leaves dressing every branch. Now…the slightest bird is unprotected and visible among the gnarls and crisscrosses of varied sized branches. Main and sub tree  trunks become more and more visible as the leaves drop steadily from the trees outside my cloister window. Today is a rainy day and the bark is dark and black highlighted against the grey sky. Each day I see more and more of the ancient 14th and 15th century facades across the street behind the brick wall of the Beguinnage. The facades are totally obscured in the summer  when only the three crosses  and the statue on the tippy top of the turrets are visible. At last, the complete facades  appear with only the grid of branches in front of the view.

branches2Another wonderful winter Beguinnage view worth remarking is across the courtyard. The view is the majestic and stately steeple of Onze Lieve Vrouw, Our Lady Church, and it is visible all winter through the leafless branches. It is totally hidden by leafy green in the summer. At night as we cross for Compline, the tower is illuminated stunningly and arrestingly again the night sky. Each time of the year has its loveliness and I try to remember to remark on the changes of seasons as I look out my window to greet the day  which now has to wait until after breakfast as it  is still dark when I rise and leave for Lauds and dark comes early around four o’clock in the evening. I close the shades before Vespers at 4:30 pm as when I return it will again be dark in this northern Belgium clime.


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