Prior to today it was fall. Regardless of what the 'official' season is I won't count it as winter until there is a real snow that gives me a 'must stay inside where it is warm' feeling. I don't get that just from cold days since we have had a good number of those already but rather from some combination of cold and snow falling. Maybe it is triggered by being unable to see much because of the blowing snow and not wanting to have to hunch my shoulders against it as I walk and maybe it is because so many activities are impossible in such conditions.
Regardless today finally triggered my hibernation instinct, a voice deep in my mind that tells me that it is time to light a fire and sit beside it gently dozing until the flash of green emerges in the spring. It is especially stark because when I walked Elli to school this morning the streets were completely clear and it was just a cool fall day and by the time I got back home I was covered in snow and unable to see any great distance. Smells are linked to memory in powerful ways and can bring out powerful emotions; I think that for me walking through the first heavy snow of the year has the same sort of effect. It brings up memories of winters long past, dark mornings waiting for the sun to rise and dragging sleds through waist deep snow to Suicide Hill.