First Freeze

The temperature was down to freezing this morning, the first freeze of this winter. Once it has gotten down to freezing, you can’t say it’s still fall, can you? There are more leaves off the trees than left on. We have astronomical seasons where the precise moment fall becomes winter can be pinpointed to the millisecond. And then there are the starts of seasons we feel with our toes. Some years winter comes early, other years later. The season’s arrival is more like an incoming tide, creeping up on us, little waves of winter moments lapping at our toes; this morning it is winter, tomorrow it is still fall, until eventually winter is here all day, every day.

The swans are back in numbers. Less than a week ago, there were hardly any around. Now they fly overhead throughout the day. What is life like for a migrating swan? They never know a warm day. They leave here for their arctic summer homes before spring is very warm. And after a cool summer up in the arctic, they fly down here when nights are frosty, and spend all winter, never feeling a single warm day.

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