Winter is coming! OK, so we’re not actually expecting hoards of White Walkers to come pouring over the state line from New York like some “Game of Thrones” nightmare, but here on the eastern edge of the States you can definitely feel the change of seasons.
This morning the Borough (local Council) did the last leaf collection of the season. Four times in November/December, the Public Works crew comes around in a lorry with a massive vacuum chute attached that sucks up any piles of leaves that homeowners have raked and blown into the gutters. These pictures show the local streets yesterday afternoon.
Thanks to an unusually mild fall, the leaves were late to drop this year, so there were bigger than usual piles for the final pick-up.
And it didn’t come a day too soon. After that mild autumn the swing to winter has been abrupt and painful. The high temperature at midday today is a frigid 23 fahrenheit (that’s -5 celsius). And the weather forecasts have started the dreaded seasonal addition of “wind chill” temperatures — what the actual feel is like on your skin when a strong gust of wind passes by. Today, with gusts of wind hitting 40mph, the wind chill is somewhere in single digits.
There were a few flurries dancing in the air late last night when I took the dog out and the current forecast predicts an inch or so of snow Saturday morning — not enough to seriously inconvenience anyone, but a clear sign that the season has changed. These late blooms on the neighbor’s rose bush are in for a nasty shock.
This morning you can certainly feel the shift — a sky of lowering, pale grey clouds that whisper of snow and (despite the wind) a chill stillness in the air. The squirrels have ceased their frantic search for nuts to cache away for the lean months and are hunkered down in their nests — the only things left in the trees that have shed their leaves.
I haven’t seen hide nor hair of the local chipmunk colony in a few days, and the rabbits that seem to have a burrow somewhere at the bottom of the garden have gone into seclusion. Time to hunker down, and hope this winter isn’t too brutal.