Woke up this morning feeling good with where we’re at after a second accumulated snow in the past three days, starting our winter early. It’s Friday, Oct. 23, six in the morning. It’s pitch dark out, low light inside with the white ash and red oak fire, bonfire-like, lighting and warming the space nearest the fireplace, slowly spreading its light and warmth outward.
There’s a date on the calendar and, I hear, in a Solstice somewhere out there that the ancients invented, followed and passed on to now. Something like the Winter Solstice, maybe another word or words telling me, by the book, when the winter started and the fall ended. I think that date is somewhere in the future so, personally, winter started with the first accumulated snow, here to stay after the second snow and, for good measure, convincing with this weekend’s forecast of snow. Love it, it’s winter. We’re in luck!
For many, including myself, fall was a favorite season just a couple weeks ago with the maples and their brilliant three-lobed leaves, some yellow, others red, purple, bordeaux, rainbow-like; the pointed lobes of the red oaks and their glaring red for contrast with the dull brown rounded lobes of their white oak cousins. The stands of birch announce, “fall is here,” their white bark far whiter now than summertime when they peer out from the overwhelming hardwoods, blue spruce and white pine neighbors.
Now, wintertime, there’s the snow on every tree; no leaves but for a weeping willow with its branches bowed closer to the ground under dull guacamole-colored snow-covered leaves. The limbs on the blue spruce are especially snow-covered, six inches on some limbs. Nice to see, fun to watch as, later, winter winds blow the snow packs off the sagging spruce limbs to the ground. There’s a particular white pine on top of another nearby hill, about a quarter mile away, that towers way above everything in the woods. It’s so dominate that, from here, I can see its limbs drooping under this early winter heavy snow.
It’s daylight! There’s a doe in the yard under a couple red oaks, snacking on acorns. She looks happy, no fear for a few more weeks when bullets blare. I’ll be spending some nights in the hunting shack and days on the hunt, a year’s-long annual deer hunting ritual. Not a sport! Worship nature and accept her bounty.
The robins have finished off the mountain ash berries and this morning there’s a couple dozen in the crabapple tree, keeping a raccoon company. These robins will be gone soon, hoping those coons will leave them some fermented crabapples for their spring return. Entertaining, watching inebriated robins do their thing in the spring. Good days.
So, finally, I do think fall is one of my favorite seasons. It’s the cool, pleasant, relaxing walk-in-the-woods season after the hot, muggy dog days of August. The fall months give us the awesome change and range of colors, of rustling leaves, of the last putting-up of the garden and firewood. So shoot, fall’s right up there with winter, spring and summer!