How Do I Know It’s Winter?

Let me count the ways winter is revealing itself here in the Bay area. First of all, it’s getting “cold.” In northern California, that means daytime temperatures in the 50’s, and nighttime temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40’s. I can’t help laughing when I see people running around town zipped into heavy down jackets, and bundled into scarves and hats as if they lived at the North Pole. Of course, in San Francisco one often sees women wearing winter coats and knee-high leather boots in July – and not necessarily on the cool, foggy days, either. I’ve accepted that it’s just a Bay area thing. Meanwhile, here in the wilds of suburbia, in addition to the individuals spotted wearing their winter finery, my garden lets me know it’s winter this way:

and this way:

and then, there’s this way, one of my favorites that I look for anxiously as November rolls into December:

In other words, an entirely new bloom cycle has begun in earnest. Hellebores, cyclamen, paperwhites, lavender, and rosemary. Fragrant, delicate-looking yet hardy, reliable beacons of life visible and tenacious. Oh, my!

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