Exit Fall, Enter Winter

I hate to admit it but winter is making inroads. Our lovely fall weather is slowly giving way to colder and colder mornings and wind, clouds, and rain are all too frequent.

A few days ago Ray and I walked to town in sunshine while the wind came in gusts, shaking the pines, which cast off their dead needles the way a dog shakes off water. It was an invigorating walk and I agreed with Ray when he said the wind was welcome. It felt fresh and new and optimistic, and it carried away the complacency we had settled into through the weeks of fading sun and stillness.

I'm never ready for for this season of darkness but that hasn't halted it. Tonight we set our clocks back, which means winter, despite what the calendar says. Snow showers are predicted for next week and Zoé, our cat, has once again claimed her favorite spot in front of the gas fireplace. We bought a new space heater for my office, and Ray has put styrofoam blocks in the vents under the house, and heating wire in the gutters surrounding our front door; to prevent, we hope, the mess that last year resulted in a dangerously icy entryway. The little Casita has had its pipes and tanks drained, and we've laid in a supply of candles. Now we wait.

Winter is cocooning time, and for those of us who enjoy curling up in front of a fire with a cozy throw and a good book, it's hard not to find pleasure in this chance to be a hedonist. Good wine and food will surely follow, including the winter soups we love. It's time to slow down, cuddle up, nap, laze, ponder, and reconsider. Winter can be a pleasurable pause in a busy life. We might as well enjoy it.

And now—already—snow is falling.