Before the first frost iced the few remaining garden flowers, before the maple leaves could finish changing from green to red and orange, before Halloween was over with its smashed pumpkins and toilet paper tree décor, snow fell in upstate New York. It was far too early and not exactly as predicted, since our local meteorologists forecast snow mainly in the higher elevations. So now I feel a little more unsure about the next predicted storm tomorrow afternoon into Sunday, one of those coastal storms that occur usually after Thanksgiving and sometimes not even before Christmas.
The thing is, I really like the first snowfall of the year. I like the way the snow weighs down the pine branches, forming a canopy over the roads. I like when the sun shines on the powdery surfaces of the ground and sparkles the edges of the pines.
But I’m not ready. I’m not ready to let go of autumn just as I was beginning to enjoy the falling leaves, the pumpkin patches, and the apple crop. The stores seem to be ready, however, having displayed Christmas trees and ornaments during the last few weeks. I don’t know why we rush the seasons. I don’t know why we don’t get to immerse ourselves completely in each one before the next arrives. I don’t like being unprepared.
Still, I’m not going to put my wreath on the front door or buy my Christmas cards yet. I’m not going to be drawn in to the beautiful ornaments adorning the trees in Michaels or A.C. Moore or Macy’s or the malls. I have yet to think about a turkey for Thanksgiving and I have no idea where my snow brush is or my scraper. I would rather sit looking out my sliding glass doors at the squirrels racing around the garden and the woodpeckers searching for bugs in the dead pine trees. I like watching the snow melt into the still-soft ground, uncovering the leaves waiting expectantly to be raked up into piles. I long for autumn to linger a while. I want it to rage against the onslaught of winter snow and icy mornings. I want to hear the crunch of leaves under my feet and smell the first smoky fires from neighborhood chimneys. I want to hold tightly on to the remaining October days before I am thrown headlong into the frenzy of the holidays. I am not ready yet for winter in New York.