Maybe three or four inches of snow have fallen. Official looking government orange snowplows have zipped by, attempting to clear off the roadways. Or, at the very least, make them a little more passable. The moguls in ski resorts rub their greasy hands together, crack-visions of paper and coins filling their coffers from the good season they'd sacrifice a virgin to, if they could find one. Snowbums perform their own rites, preying for plentiful powder days. Such is the way of things.
Flakes, some the size of small coins, float softly down along imperceptible air currents in the manner of down feathers and will-o'-the-wisp. Low gray-white clouds obscure the summits of the tall peaks. Fog intertwines between the evergreens and the skeletons of aspens. The world fades into phantasm at few hundred yards. Sometimes, the ghost light of an early winter sun tries to peak through, but it's more out of cosmic expectation and worldly rotation than any effort to warm this narrow rift-like valley on a snowy day.
Context demands a fire and hot drinks. Contrary or defiance might explain the African rhythms, which play as a backbeat. Sweaters and boots. Hats and scarves. Slippers and blankets. The paradigm of the season.
I have mentioned how I do not believe a particular season should be subject to whims and whiles of a species half-bald monkeys that try oh so desperately to compartmentalize, label, and control everything. They happen when they happen. Celestial events, like the solstices and equinox, can make convenient frames of reference, but should be seen more as guidelines than a hard and fast rule. After all, there are no rules, only rhythms. Rules go against one of the few constants, which is change.
This year, as an example, autumn took a full two weeks to catch up after the Autumnal Equinox. The year before, autumn happened shortly after my birthday, a week or so before the same equinox. Thus, I find my point validated and uncover further proof of the abstractness and elasticity of time.
Within a week, by virtue of the world's tilt along its axis, the sun will no longer rise above Mount Pendelton, casting a shadow of long dark across this part of the valley for roughly six weeks. Somewhere in that period will be the snowfall that acts as a base-coat, sticking around until the thawing times close to the Vernal Equinox. Maybe, here at ninety-one sixty, that should be called the start of winter.
Then again, a day such as this certainly whispers of the encroaching season. And perhaps somewhere, someone declares this the first day of High Country winter. Whether the weather is that of the winter's precipice or early winter is conjecture probably best reserved for more insightful and philosophical minds than my own. I tend to think the markers for seasons, be it monkey-made or based upon the movements of celestial bodies are more guidelines than anything. The molting of seasonal skins often happens when no one is looking. Just one day, quite imperceptibly, the cyclic wheel has turned ever so slightly once more.