... many of our generation were ~taught as children to draw trees with brown trunks (in my memory, even when given better instruction in drawing itself, e.g. draw the trunk as )( and fill in with gradually straighter lines). -- CHip
I'd say the birch outside our house has a cold-white bark, nothing even vaguely creamy about it. But I remember thinking of trunks as brown even when living in a scattering of locust, which are definitely grey.
CHip: I've often seen birch barks being described as "bone-white", but "cold-white" fits better.
One of the most vivid mental pictures I have dates from autumn one year ago, at a time when trees had just finished shedding their leaves. It was one of those days when the sky is the deepest sky blue you can get. I was walking past the tree when I looked up and saw the bare, white---yes, cold-white---branches against that intense blue.
It was a visual haiku. I didn't have the words. -- Zeynep
Zeynep: your 'visual haiku' straightaway reminded me of the image I have from this poem.
Once as I travelled through a quiet evening,
I saw a pool, jet-black and mirror-still.
Beyond, the slender paperbarks stood crowding;
each on its own white image looked its fill,
and nothing moved but thirty egrets wading -
thirty egrets in a quiet evening.
Once in a lifetime, lovely past believing,
your lucky eyes may light on such a pool.
As though for many years I had been waiting,
I watched in silence, till my heart was full
of clear dark water, and white trees unmoving,
and, whiter yet, those thirty egrets wading.
-- Judith Wright, Birds (1962), aka Thirty Egrets Wading