My “winter” coat came out of the closet today; it hides in there the better part of the year since the weather here in Morgantown usually doesn’t require that kind of outerwear. My husband cringes when I wear it; he doesn’t like the color. I, however, love the granny-smith-apple color; it boosts my spirit. So part of me was happy to emancipate it from the closet. My other side was taunting, “You’re just giving in, it’s not winter – yet.”

In West Virginia the seasons roll languidly one into the other and I enjoy the passing. Like a stroll through a familiar field, I walk the hills and valleys of the seasons breathing the change in the air. Each breath from mid-September through November imbibes the soul with an accumulation of chill and damp and scent, the harbingers of nature’s frosty sleep to come.

Autumn has always been at the top of my list, even in Wyoming. The crisp morning air would give way to warm sun-drenched afternoons. The evenings would bring a welcome escape from the Wyoming wind and the chill would settle in again. Although the weather was lovely, the dreaded approach of a long and stern winter would create an anxious haste to gather wood and fell wild game before the first big snow. The seasons didn’t meld quietly into each other in Wyoming. The onset of winter was often more of a slap in the face. So a drawn-out Indian summer would unsettle my spirit to the point that I would crave the true onset of winter just to get it out of the way. Old Man Winter would pounce down in an attack of wind, cold, snow, and ice, usually in late October, and hold the landscape hostage until June. – Yes, really, it would typically last that long.

I have come to realize that life imitates nature. Maybe this is as it should be so that we can take the lessons from nature and weave them into our days before they get away. I hope to gracefully move through my autumn years with vibrant color and warmth then gently glide into the hush of winter. I certainly prefer the way winter settles over West Virginia with a sparkling accumulation of frost and occasional snow. Could I be so blessed to experience this kind of chilly-soft departure into the long winter sleep?


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