As the sun rose the rooftops began to steam, and then the roads, and then the sodden wooden fences. The vapor was gray, then white, and swirled in brief vortexes then vanished in the bright air. It must have joined the cumulus clouds that lingered all day and occasionally brought a shade chillier than the brisk air. The sun was not powerful enough to dry the swaths of fallen leaves in the back half of the back yard, but the bright beads of water that clung to the bare twigs above them fell soon after sunrise. Altogether it was perfectly Decemberish. The winter solstice is drawing near, with the new year just beyond it. I always feel a bit better when we turn that corner and the days start getting longer again.