Winter's Day

This morning, a Facebook friend wrote that in some Anglo-Saxon calendars, November 7th is considered to be the first day of winter. He then added an excerpt (plus translation into modern English) from the Old English Menologium:
And on the same day [November 1] we keep
the feast of All Saints, of those who recently or long ago
worked in the world the will of the Lord.
After that comes Winter’s Day, far and wide,
after six nights, and seizes sun-bright autumn
with its army of ice and snow,
fettered with frost by the Lord's command,
so that the green fields may no longer stay with us,
the ornaments of the earth.

In fact, today has been beautifully sun-bright, but it is the deceptive, dazzling brightness of a slanting winter sun, which shines and blinds and momentarily warms, but moves on, leaving a chill in its wake. A week ago temperatures were still mild; now it's cold, definitely cold, and though we have yet to be seized by an army of ice and snow, it undoubtedly feels like a Winter's Day. Trees still display their autumn colours, but increasingly, there are more leaves underfoot, while gaps have started appearing up above, and interspersed with russet and gold, bare branches are intricately etched against the sky. Winter's army is approaching - at once coldly cruel and glitteringly beautiful, and so very necessary for our seasonal cycle... but for now, for today, all is still sun-bright, and autumn holds a tenuous yet tenacious sway.