Today was the first day that made me really feel that winter is just around the corner. We've had unseasonably warm weather this fall, in fact it was 70 degrees on Monday - not quite a record high, but certainly far above average.
But today? Today I woke to gray skies and a chill wind. I could smell the cold snap in the air. What was lovely and colorful and amazingly clear two days ago has been dampened by the rain, shuttered down.
The winter is coming. It is creeping in to the Western part of the state tonight, skirting around us like a stream diverted, and sneaking back on Wednesday. Soon the howling winds will try to carry away the last vestiges of summer growth, chasing the leaves from our yard across the road to their hiding place in the fields yonder.
The animals know. Our dogs have been making fast trips outside instead of languishing in the autumn sun. The cat has stuck close to home, preferring the windbreak of the garage and the easier-than-hunting cat food we've left for him. Even the chickens are adapting, laying eggs with thinner shells as they use more energy to keep warm.
And we know. This morning as I snuggled deep into the couch with my children, I flashed forward to winter mornings, bright with fresh snow, filled with anticipation for the holidays. I kissed their sleepy warm heads and, for a moment, wished that today could have been the first day of winter break -- that our day could have been filled with the promise of crafts and hot cocoa instead of work and daycare.
Those days are coming. My soul cries for them each year -- the time spent hunkered down in the house, not needing to go anywhere as we simply enjoy the gifts our life brings us. This winter will be filled with expectation as my belly expands to make room for our wee ones. My children will get to feel their siblings moving as they sing to them made-up songs about their day. We will all huddle together watching a movie, our cold toes whispering secrets to each other as they dance under the blanket.
There is so much peace in the silence of a country winter, the solitude is fortifying and welcome.
So come, winter. Come with your dancing snowflakes and singing wind. Come, bring us the rest the earth needs after working so hard to sustain us. Come, bring the quiet and still. Let us refresh ourselves in the white of repose.
Come winter, and then come spring.