Winter is coming, they say. The Californians. The long-time transplants, now acclimatized. The former Midwesterners, with amnesia.

The wind picks up, swirling down State Street, blowing crisp leaves of the liquid amber trees down the sidewalk. In this brief chill of autumn, I’m swept up, my mind racing through fall recipes I want to bake … pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin pumpkin

It is cooler now. It didn’t happen until the end of October, but I’ve stopped wearing shorts and started wearing hoodies.

But, I’m left hanging. The autumn I know is supposed to lead somewhere. Autumn is supposed to slip through your fingers, its technicolor leaves, golden yellows, burnt oranges, firey reds, are seen for just a short … then gone! Now the trees are bare and the world is chilled to the bone.

In SoCal, just when I think we’ve slid into autumn, it heats back up. Take today–a high of 75! It was wonderful! Outside, I read a book, the sun warmed my skin.

Yet, this is no familiar autumn, no honest prelude to winter. I’m still waiting for the other boot to drop. This season they call winter here isn’t the winter I know.

California winter doesn’t keep you inside. It doesn’t want for hot cocoa or a fire in the hearth. It doesn’t surprise with a first snowfall, or a snowball to the face. It doesn’t require fur-lined boots or real driving skills.

Frost. Ice. Snow. This is the winter I know.

Winter’s coming, they say.

Ahhh … I shrug. I suppose.

When it arrives, I don’t realize it. Its weak attempt at cold makes me sigh. Winter just isn’t your thing, Cali.

But, that’s OK. I don’t mind.

California winters are mild. They nudge you gently. They say, hey, maybe you should throw on a jacket. They keep the pavement clean so you can ride your bike. Ride your skateboard. They let you walk, run, and be outside. They let you surf. (Oh, the water feels like ice, but it can be done.)

It’s not the winter I know, but I may like it just the same …

… maybe more. ☼