Winter has been shy this year. Peeks its head out from time to time, breathes a penetrating exhale, but hesitates to step into center stage. There's still time, it's only late December, after all. This morning there was frost on my windshield, pleasing patterns like small, crystalline footprints, the remnants of some secret late-night scurrying. Beyond the frost: a dark, skeletal tangle of dormant trees.