It's not that it's terribly cold here yet, because it isn't. Winter is definitely on the way. I took Bermondsey for a walk and got home at 4:53. It was dusky by then, but in a gray and cloudy way. Fifteen minutes later, it was fully dark as if someone flipped a switch.
This morning I saw seven flocks of Canadian geese at one time, all heading south and calling to one another. It's such a mournful sound, as if they are calling goodbye to their favorite places, or calling other geese to set out before it's too cold.
Seven flocks of geese are an amazing site. Living here on the prairie, the sky is like a dome over the world, with trees and a few buildings bravely poking up at the edges. Seven flocks of geese can spread over a large expanse of the sky, as if everything overhead is fleeing the coming season. Periodically one or two or three geese will join up with a larger flock, all following the pointman, who flies into the headwinds and clears the way for the rest of the birds.
Now is the time to draw all the curtains by five o'clock, to keep the heat and light inside where it makes the rooms seem comforting. People wear darker colors, now, looking like sepia toned photographs of themselves. The trees have shed their leaves, and the grass has gone dormant. All is gray and brown and quiet.
The night comes earlier every day, and for the next five weeks we will eat our dinners in deeper and deeper dark. It's easy to lose track of the time: is it five-thirty or ten-thirty? It all looks the same.
Just around Christmas, we will pass the solstice, and by January the retreat of nighttime is visible. Slowly--so slowly--darkness will ebb, arriving later and lasting less long. The cold continues to grow, and the snow usually accumulates, but the beginning of spring can be discerned in the growing light.
This is the season for good books, a fireplace, a sleepy dog, a glass of wine...this is what we wish for now.