The trees are dancing, swaying, sometimes frenetically when the wind gusts. Leaves swirl up and up in mounting spirals until the wind pauses. Then they spiral back down only to be flung into the neighbor’s yard in the next breath. Today’s wind is a cold November wind, the fierce, hurrying kind that sweeps out of the north, gnashing its teeth and shouting. It’s doing its best to chase summer from the landscape, to make us dig out sweaters and wooly socks, turn up the heat and hunker down.
Seasonal changes don’t come without a fight. There’s a casual letting go at first with only hints of what’s to come. Warm air is tinged with coolness overnight, leaves lose chlorophyll and show their true colors, and for a while there’s a bridge, a connecting season, a resting, breathing space before the first blast of dedicated winter.
When it comes, that frigid breath, it takes no prisoners. Today’s wind is a harbinger of such change. It speaks of ice and snow and bitter cold, of leafless branches sketched in ink against a bleak sky, of chill silence and early darkness. There is redemptive beauty in the harshness, however. It’s there in every snowflake, in the bright dance of hearth flames, in the diamond sparkle of sunshine on snow, in the scarlet flash of a cardinal’s wing or the stark radiance of the frosty moon.