Squirrels are out, gathering acorns while the weather is still mild. They aren't finding many. Every once in a while, I hear one fall onto a roof, but the trees have produced very few this year. The walnut tree has only a small crop, too, and I see fewer cones than usual on the pines. It could be a tough winter for the squirrels and other creatures who depend on nuts for food. Maybe they'll be lucky, and the season won't be too cold, at least. But I recall the worst winters here following the warmest summers, such as we had this year. For the moment, everything seems placid. The air barely stirs, and the still leaves glow with warm afternoon light. It is one of those days when it seems as though things have always been this way, and always will be. A few birds chirp, and small insects hover and dart, flickering the sunbeams. Only the sky changes, as the thin clouds drift slowly toward the mountains. It is difficult to picture the snow that might fall in a few weeks, turning the bare branches white like bleached bones.