* * *UPDATE: It is now nine hours since I wrote the above portion of this piece. Most of the day, or at least the daylight hours. Twilight is setting in here along the river. It will be dark in another half hour. The news is that the snow which has sputtered off and on all day is finally sticking to the ground. So maybe this makes it our official "First Snow." To celebrate, I took a quick photo...can't remember the name of the flower, but I stuck a few into my marigold bed at the end of spring and while the marigolds have given up weeks ago, these sprightly little plants have kept right on blooming. It will be interesting to see how long they last after being snowed on.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday it was cold but partially sunny early, then rain during the afternoon and throughout the night. Saturday was dark and cloudy and colder still, with a weather oddity in mid-afternoon of huge snowflakes—some nearly hand-size—mixed in for a few minutes before going back strictly to rain. Yesterday morning began with streaks of clear sky in the west, which soon disappeared to be followed by a few minutes of hominy snow. After that the day was simply cold and cloudy. This morning the overcast sky is thicker, darker, with falling moisture that alternates from minute-to-minute between the lightest of drizzles and periods where the rain is replaced by snowflakes. The reason for this back-and-forth weather-business which can't seem to make up its mind whether to rain or snow, is temperature. Since the end of last week, we've been hovering right around that mid-to-low thirties range, never varying more than two or three degrees either way day or night. The big, slow-moving system is coming from the north and west—the Dakotas and Great Lakes, bringing moisture and clouds, and of course, colder temperatures. In point of fact, this is typical November weather. We're never pleased about such a turn of things after those crisp blue days of October. But we ought not to act so surprised about its annual arrival. Because it is a damp cold, it always seems worse than it is so far as comfort goes. Which is why we shiver and complain so much, I guess. Plus, in my case, I need to give the yard a final raking, there's wood to split and stack, caulking around the house to do, and a lot of general tidying up and light repairs I still need to have done before genuine winter sets in. But the news isn't all negative. These first cold, damp November days are why a hearth fire and a mug of hot tea seems so cozy. Why, too, I suspect, a batch of oatmeal cookies baking in the oven smells so wonderful. Why that pot of beef-and-noodles you've slow-cooked all afternoon tastes so good. November days such as these may not be the best for going outdoors...but they have their compensations inside.