It’s cold, and dark, and grey… and still the birds sing… There’s no doubt it’s winter, as the pups and I go for a Friday walk. It’s a little later than usual, and we have the benefit of some daylight on the streets. Everywhere there are mini drifts of leaves, in the gutter, against that fence, beside the parked car. The trees are all mostly bare now, but for a few of the evergreens in the neighborhood and the one or two trees that always outlast the first frosts. Mostly there are just bony fingers, pointed up, reaching into the sky, as if to claw at the clouds, to tear open a whole in winter. And the birds sing. And sing. They’re happy despite the impending rain. A neighbor passes on their way to work and smiles at the sight of me and three dogs, and waves. We continue, trying to avoid the drive time rush around us on the more heavily used streets. And we turn onto the quiet little road with the curve over the hill. You know the road, I talk often of this road. It’s the road that starts the walk towards home. It’s the road that crests, the road with the view of Bear mountain. But today there is no view. There is only the grey clouds and there is only a chill wind that makes me wish I’d brought my scarf, and I pull my corduroy jacket a little closer, and I try to pull my hands up into my sleeves a little farther. And we head back down the hill, to the turn north, and onto another busy street, and on towards home, and light, and warmth, and hot coffee. And still, the birds sing!