The first truly cold day of autumn always surprises me. (Cold for California, I ought to say; it was in the low 50s.) I know it's coming, and even look forward to it, but when I open my window shade and feel the chill from the glass, I'm always taken aback. If, as was the case today, the sky is entirely covered in mottled grey clouds such as those that hung over the streets of Paris a hundred years ago, when Pissarro was painting them, then my surprise is accompanied by delight. The first cold, grey day of autumn is invigorating. The muted colors of late flowers and turning leaves are subtle in the pale light, and the brighter spot that moves across the sky, marking the location of the sun, is a silvery suggestion of pent up rain. A perfect day for listening to my footsteps crunching on the grey pavements.