Greetings! I got up this morning and there was a thin sheet of white stuff all over the ground. It was cold even in the house. It’s November 18. So I’m presuming this is winter’s dry run. Just a little poke at the machinery to make sure everything’s in good working order when the season really starts. A bunch of birds in my next-door cedar cluster are singing like the best sun ever just arose on the long-promised and everlasting spring. Either that or they’re being territorial and one thousand of them at once are saying “Mine! Mine! Mine!” The sky fortunately is pure primary blue and there are still colourful leaves on some trees. Others have resorted to that veiny imploring look they get when all the fluttering is over and the leaves are gone. Well not — gone exactly. Fallen. And probably not fallen in love. Though if I wanted to imagine that the incoming winter was Queen Elizabeth the first of England then I could choose to see these fallen leaves as Sir Walter Raleigh’s cloak spread over a puddle in a gesture of chivalry. Or if I want to feel cynical and helpless I could think of them as being ballots in the great majority vote against incoming winter. Uselessly cast. Because the weather is not a democracy.