The metaphor for the last stage of life is often winter. Winter is a time of less energy when chilled temperatures, shorter days, plant dormancy or death, and animal migration and hibernation. Animals settle in for periods of longer rest or become “snow birds” literally migrating to warmer climates. Annual plants literally die. Perennial plants and deciduous trees have less energy, so quit their work and retire. There are some, like some people, that seem have eternal energy, determined to thrive throughout the harsh winter months.
“Green” is the most obvious sign of an active winter species. Buds, the plant’s newborns, do not always wait for spring’s warmer days and more colorful settings. The evergreen White Pine hosts young buds during winter months. These youthful outgrowths are surviving sub-zero temperatures while blanketed by dense snow, which does indeed give shelter species from the arctic air.