Autumn Meets Winter

The seasons around here are mellow for the most part; they flow into one another, back and forth—a bit like a river meeting the ocean, where fresh and salt waters intermingle with the tides. So autumn meets winter in Northern California, little by little. They exchange pleasantries and take turns, like friends having a conversation. A biting, cold day kissed by Jack Frost makes way for warm autumn sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather, then we pull on sweaters again.

Mom's Tree
Our trees are taking their time. Some have already disrobed for their long winter’s sleep, scattering their colorful garments about them and delighting small leaf-pile jumpers and kickers. Some trees are still carrying on in their resplendent finery, like this one in my parents’ yard, into the darkness of winter. Personally, I resolve to admire their colors for as long as they last.

Red Meets Yellow
These plum leaves and the elm leaves litter my front yard in great patches of red and yellow. This is where they mingle.

My Liquidambar

Asher at Grandparents' House
Rainstorms offer opportunities to tromp about in the wetness and mud, to observe the green mosses. The jolly mushrooms are back!
Peek-a-Book Mushrooms

Sunset, December 4, 2010

Cloudy skies bring some dramatic sunsets.

Finally Orange!
Our liquidambar (sweet gum) tree has finally turned orange! In the afternoon sun it is glorious.

December Oranges on Neighbor's Tree
Cooler temps bring a new kind of bounty. We’ve watched the neighborhood squirrels steal all the pecans over the last couple of months. I put out some birdseed yesterday to feed the birds; I like it when they visit our yard. They ate all the berries off my dogwood tree, but were far too intuitive and fast to let me catch them on camera.

Smiley Tree—Happy Yule!

Today is gray and cloudy, but we might see sun later and a high of 64 degrees. We’re attending Lucas’s school Winter Concert this afternoon. Day by day we march toward the solstice, and we bring a little winter dazzle inside. We coax and conjure winter with our rituals.

4 Responses to “Autumn Meets Winter”

  • Alyss
    December 13, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    “they flow into one another, back and forth—a bit like a river meeting the ocean, where fresh and salt waters intermingle with the tides.”

    Yes! Perfect 🙂

    Here in Western Oregon they meet back and forth, but then one certainly gets the upper hand in the conversation – until next year. I love your photos, again, perfectly capturing the season.


    • Sara
      December 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you, Alyss! I find myself telling my kids, “Bundle up! It’s winter and cold out.” Then we go outside and it’s really not that cold. They look at me like I’m crazy. At the school, the daffodils are are already coming up as green shoots. They’ll be blooming by the end of January.


  • Lucia
    December 15, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Gorgeous shots! I especially love that last sentence “coax and conjure”…having spent most of my life living in warm parts of the world it rings true and so beautifully crafted it makes me want to write it down as a keeper. Do you ever do that? jot down beautiful sentences or am I just a word junkie/weirdo?


  • Sara
    December 17, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Thanks, Lucia, for that awesome compliment! I definitely do that with perfect phrases when I find them. Word geeks, unite!


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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