It has been extraordinarily easy to forget that winter is nigh. Here in Michigan we’ve had a long string of unexpectedly mild autumn weeks. Two days ago - on the last day of November, - I walked the dogs wearing nothing heavier than a sweatshirt. I even left my gloves in the pocket of my jacket, something I rarely do after October because my hands are always extremely cold.
A stern reminder of the impending season becomes abruptly evident about 4:00 every afternoon. Darkness falls, and it falls fast. At our house we are in utter blackness by 5:15. Headlights stream down the road as people wend their way home from work, many of them having left the house in the (dark!) hours of early morning. December brings increasingly shorter days as we race toward the winter solstice on December 21, the penultimate day when the hours of darkness exceed the hours of light.