Yesterday the last leaves tugged at the branches, and soon all the branches were bare. The wind was from the north.
They looked up from the stable yard on the prairies, saw the slate-gray sky, and knew that it had come. The cattle wandered dolefully, picking at the dried grass, and the long autumn hair of the horses was ruffled in the wind. The fishermen along the Nova Scotia coast battened down their boats and ran for shore. In the Hope Mountains of British Columbia, Bill Robinson denned up in his cabin, twenty-five miles from other human life, hoping his radio battery would keep going until spring.
Today it came, the Canadian winter. Snow eddying across the prairies until a woman peering through the windows could not see the neighbor's house and knew she was a prisoner until April. Snow sifting through the streets of Winnipeg and everyone hurrying to get anti-freeze in his radiator, a heater on the windshield; and the vacant lots flooded for the kids' skating rinks. Winter marching eastward over the badlands, placing a puff of snow carefully on every tiny Christmas tree. Winter tiptoeing into an Ontario village by night and all the children awaking with a whoop to get out sleighs and skis and hockey sticks, and the black squirrel in the garden taking one look and disappearing for good.
In Ottawa the prime minister and other distinguished statesmen taking their fur caps out of moth balls and coming forth suddenly, like an invasion of Russian Cossacks on the Hill, the policeman at the Senate Entrance sheathed in buffalo coat like an aged bison, members of Parliament hurrying from the Château to the Buildings, diving into the warmth of steam heat