While taking a shortcut at dusk across Central Park, the day darkened with a snap of earth’s rotating fingers. We’d just retarded our clocks back to standard time, and here we were once more, in the dark at 5 in the afternoon . The many and varied park trees along the sloping hills were ablaze in color, some had already lost their leaves. A perfect moment, including a symphony of murmurs and rasps – light breezes through branches, gusts disturbing dead leaf layers. By the time I left the path Thomas Hardy, standing on a raised hump of earth, baton (with rosewood handle) in hand, had convinced me to stop worrying, to empty my head and I did as he suggested. It was just that simple.

“To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature. At the passing of the breeze the fir-trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock; the holly whistles as it battles with itself; the ash hisses amid its quiverings; the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall. And winter, which modifies the note of such trees as shed their leaves, does not destroy its individuality.

… All the evidences of his nature were those afforded by the spirit of his footsteps, which succeeded each other lightly and quickly, and by the liveliness of his voice as he sang in a rural cadence …

.. casually glancing upward, the silver and black-stemmed birches with their characteristic tufts, the pale grey boughs of beech, the dark-creviced elm, all appeared now as black and flat outlines upon the sky, wherein the white stars twinkled so vehemently that their flickering seemed like the flapping of wings. Within the woody pass, at a level anything lower than the horizon, all was dark as the grave. …”

[from “Under the Greenwood Tree” by Thomas Hardy” Chapter 1: Winter]