Winter is coming, albeit reluctantly, dragging his feet, lounging in the door while summer and fall wrestle over who gets to push past him first. The weather hasn't been able to make up its mind these last few months. It's flip-flops between unseasonably hot for this time of year, and then unseasonably cold, all in the space of a few days.
But winter is finally coming, because the fog has begun. In this part of California, the cold season is heralded by morning fog - mist that pools in fields to transform the landscape into something mystical, hiding the brown of summer's heat under a swirling blanket of delicate wisps of white. Before the rain starts and everything oversaturates, the fog comes first.
There are hazards to fog - the rate of accidents always increases this time of year, of course - but it's still beautiful, the way it blankets everything in silence. By late morning it burns off, the occasional wisp still clinging to grass, and then at night it rolls in again, so thick that when I'm driving the back roads between my town and the next, the only car on the road, I can see nothing behind me but total blackness, and only the swirl of mist in my headlights. It's an eerie feeling, this sense that I am the only person in the world, but beautiful still.
I love this time of year, when mornings seem to cry out for snuggling back under the blankets with obliging cats instead of poking bare toes out into the chilly air of the room. This type of weather makes me want to stay home and bake, and mull cider. It makes me look forward to putting on clothes fresh from the dryer, hugging warm fabric close to ward off the chill. It makes me daydream of curling up on the couch with a mug of cocoa and a good book when I should be keeping my mind on more important things like work.
The fog is, in a way, a promise of what is to come. I know that when the fog arrives, it won't be long til holiday season, air filled with cinnamon and nutmeg and pine, greeting cards and secret Santas. Despite the fact that work stress has gone from bad to worse, that in a few short weeks they will begin building our house and my non-work stress will increase drastically as we are faced with hundreds of decisions, I can still be happy. Winter is nearly here.