We're driving down 25 N now, heading out of Menominee. The car is toasty warm, but outside is silvery-white, every tree limned with a tracery of snow. Some deciduous trees still climb stubbornly to each brown leaf -- others are bare and elegant, serene in their nakedness. The evergreens are particularly pleasing to the eye, their combination of white and green heralding Christmas around the corner. This is something I missed in California -- the early days of winter, when the first snowfall is a sheer delight.
I woke up this morning early, hours before Susan and Karen. The curtains were open just enough that I could see snow falling outside the windows. I picked up a book, Nalo's Skin Folk, and wandered out to the lounge of our bed and breakfast. I got some hot mango tea and curled in a huge overstuffed chair, reading for an hour until I got chilly, periodically looking up and losing myself in the falling snow outside the window. I went back to the room, found shoes, and went over to the main building. I persuaded them to give me a cranberry muffin, and some Earl Grey tea, and then finished the book in front of a crackling fire, with the snow still falling. It was just a blissful way to start the day. It made me miss New England.
It's the time for hot brown cider, apple cinnamon doughnuts, fresh baked at the orchard near my parents' house. For the slow careful building of a fire, for marshmallows toasted over an open flame, and dunked in hot chocolate. For feathery frost patterns on the windows, and for curling your hand into a fist so that you can melt fairy footprints walking up the glass, using the tip of your pinkie to create each small toe. For soft flannel and silk turtlenecks, for heavy wool sweaters and clompy boots. I am entirely certain that within a month, if not a week, I'll be longing for the end of winter, but right now, in this moment, I can appreciate its beginning.