As I write this, winter is, technically, three weeks away from us. I've always felt that the official designation of season is slightly out of sync with how things actually feel. The labels are about a month behind the tangibles. Right now it feels like winter and no meteorologist can tell me otherwise.
Mornings are as heavy as a woolen, winter blanket—darkened atmosphere laden with mist, stale wood smoke, and inversion. The sun reflects its amber light against Mt. Tamalpais which announces dawn to our bedroom. Eyes open more slowly in winter. Awakening feels like a long, delicious reentry into a obscured world.
The deep shadows of winter herald a deeper kind of creativity, shrouded in mystery. When the sun finally lifts itself from its stupor, it dances carefully around the house, turning it into a chiaroscuro stage. Everything can be photographed. Everything should be photographed. The simplest of objects are transformed into winter still life.
Last week at the farmer's market I found three pumpkins. Rich with autumnal color, they seemed destined for the kitchen. Returning from the market I emptied my basket onto the breakfast table. The pumpkins have been there since. I haven't had the heart to take a knife to them yet. They have added much to my mornings and are more optimistic than the writings in the newspaper. So, I stare at them instead of reading the daily drivel that passes for news.
Within a week or two I will come to the realization that my pumpkins are past their prime and ready to be transformed into stuffed pasta or gnocchi. It will be their final act in the drama. Until then, my winter's still life will remind me of the simple pleasures of winter on Planet Earth.