When I first laid eyes on this picture, I shivered. That reaction does stand to reason, as this picture most certainly alludes to there being a teeth-chattering chill in the air. However, the shiver was one of delight. At the first glance of this scene, I imagined being in it and feeling excited about the first snowfall heralding in the winter season and the coziness that comes along with it.
So, imagine this scene; the weatherman has finally forecasted a chance for snow. It is to be expected as the autumn season is drawing to a close. A few brittle leaves still cling to the branches of the trees, reluctant to relinquish their grip. But most leaves have taken their descent, laying a thick carpet on the ground that needs to be raked up before the snow falls. You hurriedly don the jacket, pull on the gloves, and head to the storage shed to grab the rake. To some, raking up all these leaves may seem to be a Herculean task, but you don't mind doing it. There is a satisfying sense of accomplishment when the yard is all cleaned up and looking nice once more.
With the successful retrieval of the rake from storage, you begin raking the leaves into a pile. As the pile grows into a large mound you can't resist the urge to jump into it. You used to do that when you were a kid. With a gleeful laugh, you'd throw down the rake and launch yourself into the midst of the leaves, scattering them to the winds and undoing a lot of the work you had done. This time around, despite the increased girth of adulthood slowing the speed of your catapult into that mound, you discover reenacting an innocent childhood impulsiveness is just as much fun now as it had been back then.
You scramble to your feet, brush away the few errant leaves stubbornly sticking to your clothes, and pick up the rake. You are still chuckling with that same glee as you re-rake the leaves that had flown out in all directions on impact. You make quick work of scooping up the leaves and dumping them unceremoniously into several empty bushel baskets. As you haul the baskets away to dispose of their contents, you pass by the woodpile. You notice it could use some replenishing. Back to the storage shed you go, to exchange the rake for the axe. It takes only a few swift chops of the axe and you have an armful of wood to stack on the woodpile. This amount of wood should last throughout the duration of the storm.
With the last task completed, you walk to the storage shed, to hang the axe up in its proper place on the wall. As you head towards the house, a flurry of tiny, delicate snowflakes float down and ever so softly sweep across your face. You glance up at the sky. You had been so preoccupied with the leaf raking and wood chopping you had failed to notice the sky was growing overcast. As you continue to look upward, watching the clouds build up, you heave a happy sigh. There is undoubtedly a winter storm on the way but, although you made yourself more work due to that reminiscent childhood moment, you still managed to get everything done in time.
You step inside the house, slip off the coat, and hang it up on the hook beside the door. After pulling off the gloves, you rub your hands together. The cold had somehow still managed to seep past the protection of the gloves and your hands feel stiff. But you know what will warm them up and get the blood to circulating again. A steaming cup of hot chocolate! You fill the kettle with water and put it on the stove. When the kettle starts whistling, signaling that it has come to a boil, you lift it off the stove, pour the water into your favorite mug, and add a heaping tablespoon of powdered chocolate. As you stir the chocolate, dissolving that fine powder into a dark, rich liquid, the aroma wafting up from it tantalizes your senses. This hot chocolate smells good, is going to feel good, and the taste is sure to be heavenly!
Wrapping your hands around the mug, you carry it into the living room. You sit down in the rocking chair beside the fireplace and stretch out your legs, resting the heels of your feet on the braided rug placed conveniently in front of the chair. The sleeping cat, curled up on the rug near your feet, opens her eyes momentarily to look at you and then resumes her peaceful slumber. You take a sip of the hot chocolate and lean back in the rocking chair. The comforting warmth of that beverage and the heat radiating from the flames dancing merrily in the fireplace is enveloping you, leaving you feeling contented and thankful. Regardless of how cold it might be outdoors, it is wonderfully warm and cozy inside.
You savor another sip of the hot chocolate and gaze out of the window. The snow is falling more steadily and beginning to accumulate. It's the first snow of the season and all is well.