Just a couple of things.
First, there's a big oak tree in the backyard which has died a slow and miserable death over the last thirteen years. One day this week I found a branch as big around as my thigh at the base of this tree, and I realized I hadn't seen it leaf out much this year at all — and, its annual shower of acorns has dwindled to become completely non-existent this year. So tomorrow it gets cut down. When I say it's a big tree, I mean huge... easily 75 years old if not a hundred, over two feet in diameter. I hate to see it go but it has to. It's past its prime and at this point more a hazard to the house than a thing of beauty.
But next to it, a younger oak has sprouted, now maybe ten or fifteen feet tall and full of fall leaves. The cycle is complete.
Second, a giant storm is brewing. Many of the weather forecasts I've found say it could be "historic" in nature, and at least one said there is "no precedent" for what the forecast models are suggesting. Basically, Hurricane Sandy is slowly creeping up the Atlantic just east of the coastline and is expected to merge with a cold front with below-freezing temperatures moving in from the north (coinciding with a full moon causing very high tides). The result, if the predictions bear out, will be a hybrid snowstorm/hurricane/blizzard thing — one with wind, rain, snow, and flooding, and which AccuWeather has boldly proclaimed could dump feet of snow and knock out power over large areas for days if not weeks.
The badness is supposed to begin Monday night or Tuesday, with the hurricane making landfall somewhere between Newport News and Boston. That's several days away, obviously, so it can change quite a bit. But you know, weather folk don't normally use words like "historic" and "no precedent" for things that far in the future, so I think that's telling. I get the impression they mean it. In fact, the last time I remember this much buzz about a storm this far in advance — and with such firm and direct language — was the big Winter Storm of '93. That one was, of course, the whopper they predicted... so those far in advance warnings were 100% justified. The doomsaying for Sandy started yesterday (or maybe a bit earlier), and as time has gone on, confidence levels have gone up, and it looks like things are indeed converging on a huge event.
So winter may be off with a bang this year. If that's the case, all the better that old dead oak is coming down in a controlled fashion instead of the alternative.