Living in the mid latitudes offers a dynamic life experience–including those of the seasons. At the 45th parallel, Autumn gradually gives way to Winter. Browns and russets are sprinkled with willowy whites. Eventually engulfed–leaves and the understory are cloaked in winters precipitation.

And anticipation.

Anticipation for seasonal celebrations, song and the most delectable dishes–tradition. Snow being a crucial component in the celebration. Our species holds traditions and customs close to our hearts. It is what makes us human. We also hold seasons in high esteem*–though maybe not always with an eye to the truth. A hallmark of the winter season is snow.

Does snow mean winter?

Yes AND no.

Snow is integral to winter–sure. Snow as precipitation is also integral to Autumn. Perhaps this nuance is not at the forefront of the minds of modern humans. Astronomical practices not as fine-tuned as yesteryear. Modern living does not require it. Crops show up in our markets ready to eat.

Days become shorter, or so it seems. 7pm seems like 10pm!


The Winter Solstice is near. Astronomical winter begins on December 21st. My soul rejoices in its arrival.

The perceived start of winter is–well–up to each of us. Is it this: once the leaves fall off of their branches, it is ‘all downhill’ from there until April. Or, is it when the table is being cleared of Thanksgiving dinner? Perhaps winter begins when bells on bobtail ring?

Perception is powerful stuff.

Fall, 2020: Pelizarri Natural Area. Image Copyright The Wilderness Journal 2020.

Take a look at the image above. This is autumn. Though some part of my being asserts its the middle of winter in Traverse City.

Honestly, I am not sure where I am going with this post. The thought is there, but the message is a wee bit blurred–unclear. Muddled perception at its finest.


*Vivaldi anyone?

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