Early brrrrr, but so beautiful...

I hope you saw the glorious new rim of white surrounding the Puget Sound Basin before the clouds came in low again. Sunday, the Olympic Mountains were lit up by the early-morning sun. Stopped you in your tracks. Such brilliance was startling after so much gray. It made you realize that the recent barrenness of the mountains was all wrong for this region. Now the basin has refreshed its ephemeral qualities - white mountain peaks, reflected up close in whitecaps on the waters. And then the clouds drift back in, mists obscure the brilliant clarity, and you wait again for the next grand showing.

Meanwhile, there is all this colorful, sodden confetti on the ground. Raking the leaves is much harder work than the romantic image of huge leaf piles with little children gleefully throwing themselves into them. But it is important to get these gooey masses off our sidewalks and out of the street gutters. Having recently undergone some minor foot surgery and gimping along with a plastic boot, I can attest to the slipperiness and the speed with which you find yourself hard down on the ground.

As for the rest of the garden, it is now just a mad scramble to get the bulbs planted and to clean up the wilted summer glory. And it doesn't help to have incessant heavy rain occurring on the weekend days! I look at my raingear, and I really just want to leave it in the closet. Am I becoming just a fair-weather gardener? I do find that I am beginning to be highly envious of those gardeners in other regions whose gardens get shut down for them by a fresh blanket of snow. For them there is no room for procrastination.

So, here is the perfect scenario: a sunny but not too warm weekend. All the eager skiers can leave for the slopes and celebrate this year's amazing early season. The gardeners in the house can luxuriate in long, extended hours of puttering and straightening, pruning and bulb planting. On the back burners of the stove will be huge pots of stews and soups, quietly burbling their way toward perfection. And then late Sunday evening, a gathering at the table for the hearty fare, and a long round of chatter about whose sore muscles get to be soaked in the tub first.

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