Winter Is Icumen In

Winter has been icumen in for a while now, but in fits and starts. In the early days of the month I put flannel sheets on the bed, turned the heater on for the first time since late April, and before long I’d done the Great Clothes Switch — discovering, incidentally, two new pairs of pants that I have no recollection of buying. I hear that this is a common symptom of the Age of Covid, but it’s possible I’ve got an alter ego that wants to take charge of my wardrobe. Good luck with that . . .

A few days ago the temperature hit 60 F (15.5 C), but 60 in mid-November does not feel like 60 in May so I was not gallivanting around in shorts and a T-shirt. The water in my outside shower was already turned off, but I was not tempted to turn it on.

This morning? Well, this is not the first ice disk of the season, but it’s still standing despite the wind (“how the wind doth ramm” indeed!). Both of its predecessors — one from November 6, the other from the 7th — were puddles before noon.

Supporting evidence: Having padded outside barefoot in my long fleece robe to empty my indoor recyclables into the outdoor bin, I decided to (1) don long underwear and (2) exchange sweatshirt for sweater before setting out with Tam for our morning walk.

These are not things I do in fall. What’s done can in some sense be undone — which is to say that later this week I may shed the longjohns and go back to the sweatshirt — but there’s no undoing the act of taking longjohns out of the drawer or sweater out of the closet for the first time this season.

Tam is, of course, thrilled. He doesn’t have to change his clothes. At the moment he’s snoozing out on the deck, where the temperature is 37 F but, sez my phone, “feels like 28.” Got that right. Now that it’s cooler inside, he spends most of most nights on my bed. Like Trav and Rhodry before him, he’s a great bed warmer, and better-looking than a hot-water bottle.

Out in the woods, what leaves the oaks have left have long since turned brown, but the reds and yellows are holding their own. The Japanese maple outside my west-facing window didn’t turn its most spectacular red this year, but it’s striking nonetheless. It always holds off till November to start showing its colors, then it peaks around the middle of the month. This year the leaves remain both red and yellow, with many more one than the other, but the overall effect is not orange — or, if it is orange, it’s orange the way flames are orange, with reds and yellows remaining distinct, never fully blending.

In the high winds, it’s lost some of those leaves, but this morning it’s still a glorious sight out my window. Fall’s last hurrah before winter takes up residence.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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1 Response to Winter Is Icumen In

  1. Susan Robinson says:

    I agree with the Ezra Pound poem that begins Winter is i-cumin in, Lhude sing goddamn!


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