For more than a week the daytime air temperature has hovered at or below freezing. Then today, the first day of winter, the sun emerged and the temperature soared into the low 40s. It felt balmy, if for just a few hours at mid-day. The sun and warmer air melted most of the dusting of snow that fell overnight. Just when it seemed that lakes and backwaters were frozen enough to bear weight, they've opened up again.
On my Solstice walkabout with Kodi the bit of fresh snow revealed many squirrel tracks. This makes Kodi's heart soar. He never catches them, but the chase is good exercise. Squirrels had a good 2010 with bumper acorn crops to eat and cache. A winter with fresh snow reveals many stories that remain hidden when the ground is bare. Birds too left their prints.
Up in the trees chickadees hunted for seeds and insects among hemlocks and alders. Two blue jays scolded a huge flock of starlings that landed in the bare canopy of three large oaks. Suddenly it looked like the trees had sprouted leaves, the starlings were so many. The blue jays were upset - that was their territory.
The day is short and the night is long, yet it doesn't quite feel like winter yet. As the Solstice full moon wanes and the days grow longer after today, winter is just beginning. Let it snow.