The Dude Does Winter

The Dude Does Winter
11 November 2010 
It may not be officially winter yet, but remember for Southern California native The Dude (mini van adopted from Dad last March) anything below 60 degrees is the beginning of the next Ice Age. 
So it goes from high 70’s to below freezing overnight. The Dude requires his ‘blankey,” (aka mini van tarp/cover) because the forecast is not only for cold, but rain, and possibly snow showers. Because the rain and cold stay for several days, the ‘blankey’ stays on. 
Finally the sun re-emerges. The winds stop, and the drought-thirsty trees have been stripped before they could muster much color. Although The Dude is sure it’s clearly the beginning of that Ice Age, being in the thirties in the morning I take off the ‘blankey’.  
The Dude is in shock. He’s now dead certain we blindfolded him while we finished assassinating the trees. They are bare. He stares up the driveway at the devastation. 

I expect The Dude to sulk, but he has Dad’s sunny disposition. The Dude discovers with the beginning of the cold weather, there’s increased entertainment. The grey and red squirrels are mega busy burying acorns all over the place. They race from tree to tree, rustling the fallen leaves, making enough noise to sound like an army trudging through. The chipmunks do the same, but add time sitting in the sun ‘barking’. The wild turkey work the layers of leaves pecking for food, no longer waiting for overcast rainy days. The twin fawns, grown out of their spots, still show up with Mom at the salt lick and the water bucket. Intent on more than food, bucks pursue does. 
And then there are the people. The cooler weather brings out the ‘walkers’, most flailing less than I do, so less entertaining. With the barren trees, The Dude can see not just up the drive, but through the woods to the next door Newfoundlands. Bear and Bander love lounging in the cold, even nesting in the snow, when we have it. 
I haven’t broken the news about snow to The Dude. But I did promise him a very special  sight when every leaf has fallen. Then he will witness the sculptural beauty of leafless trees, each species a different carving.  
Before I break the news about snow to The Dude, I’ll start with hoar frost. He’s going to love what happens when the river fog burns off to clear blue-skied days, and every weed and branch emerges encrusted with crystals. 



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