Here we measure seasons by small changes in temperature and for one, heavy rainfall.
We are the calendar reliant, otherwise left to look at the moon and count to ascertain roughly
what month it might be, but we now live in a solar calendar world so our lunar efforts are necessarily doomed to failure.
And holidays are different here, Christmas has no snow, so we decorate our palms and perhaps have inflatable snowmen or reindeer, and hang icicles from our gutters as a reminder of what winter is for so many other than us.
Technology has effectively destroyed the intimate dinner parties that once were the core of a social life.
You fretted over whether the souffle would collapse, if the wine was chilled to the right temperature, if the entree was back timed sufficiently to allow time for the hors d’oeuvres and if the guests would arrive at the scheduled time.
Now it is a fear that Grubhub or Doordash will be late, that you must remember to hide the packaging from the heat and serve appetizers and if it will be nice enough to eat outside, or if you will need to check vaccination cards.
The snow began falling this morning the dry, almost greasy snow that defies the plows running up and down the streets, too shallow for the salters to begin. Cars slide to a stop, or nearly so, at the intersection, and you know it is merely a matter of time before two will simultaneously, and there will be a loud crunch of metal, gesticulating of hands, He would stay and watch, as he does auto racing, but the temperature has breached single digits, the wind has taken up winter’s challenge, and he knows only a fool would venture or stay out in this.
Autumn came on hard today the drop in temperature not unexpected in these climes, but still unwanted, forcing the closing of windows. Still, as the afternoon faded, I shouted toward the window a reminder not to go gently into night to fight the soon approaching dark. The squirrel on the lawn outside the window stood, forepaws held together as if deep in prayer and stared back at me, seemingly incredulous, so I loudly repeated my entreaty. He shook both head and tail, then said, “For God’s sake man, if you want to be the next Dylan Thomas have several more drinks, and please next time try and get the lines right!” He turned and headed up the old maple.
The temperature falls, slowly at first but gaining speed, as though in the grip of winter’s gravity. Winter has the potential to be a black hole season into which we enter and imagine we will never reemerge into spring. The wind whispers stories to us of a time when this was all ice when no one complained of a chill for there was no one. We turn up our collars to remind the wind that we will remain here, for nature has given us an equal dose of stubbornness.