It had to happen sooner or later, though I was voting for later.
In the morning, there was no snow, just gray heavy clouds, a strong, blustery wind, and a sense of dampness in the air. Doug and Riley and I took our normal Saturday-morning walk--about 3 or 4 miles, with a stop halfway at a coffee shop, where we sat outside at a little wrought-iron table and sipped from steaming paper cups.
It was the kind of weather that makes you walk briskly, and so you stay warm, and the dog is happy, and you feel sort of virtuous because most other people pull back their curtains and look out at the heavy sky and the whipping branches, and stay inside, but not you, no, you are intrepid walkers, with dog, and you trudge down the side of the Como Golf Course, avoiding the goose poop (which the dog tries not to avoid, but to eat), and you talk about how pleasant it is to walk this time of year with clear sidewalks and dry ground and no worries about slipping or sliding on ice.
And then you get home and within the hour it starts to snow. Hard. It started as icy pellets, just as I was finishing my errands and just as Doug was finishing up running the lawn mower over the last of the autumn leaves.
And it snowed and snowed, about three inches, and I was in despair. No more easy walking. No more firm quick tread. We will be mincing around on ice now until April.
I let the boys out in the midst of it all, and Bosoce toddled around OK, didn't fall, but Riley--Riley ran. Zipped. Zoomed. Went into the play bow with such a look of excitement and pleading and happiness on his face that I could not resist, and so I chased him, and he ran, and Boscoe watched and the snow fell and fell, turning their black backs white.
The forecast now is for warmth later in the week; this might not be the Snow that Starts the Winter; it might actually melt. But it's certainly a warning, a reminder: You live in Minnesota. It is almost December. Your world, very soon, will be white, and it will stay white for a very long time.
(Note: The picture is not from this snowfall; it is from last year, when we had feet and feet of snow. I did not take a picture of Riley last night because he was simply moving too fast. In great happiness.)