If winter makes us tougher, it also makes us more thoughtful. Thoreau believed that winter promotes a more inward life. Standing on the banks of a frozen river, he imagined the human brain as “the kernel which winter itself matures.” Winter clears the mind’s clutter as it clears leaves from forest branches, giving our intellectual landscape a transparency that allows us to see through things. “The winter,” wrote Thoreau, “is thrown to us like a bone to a famished dog, and we are expected to get the marrow out of it.”

Mt. Diablo at sunrise viewed from Round Valley Regional Preserve. December 8, 2009.

Forests of frost on windowpane. January, 1994.

Round Valley’s Murphy Meadow on a foggy, frosty January morning.

Nascent cones of Monterey pine in January. Point Lobos State Reserve.

Buckeye trio in winter on Round Valley’s Coyote Ridge.

Wind-whipped ice razors on buckbrush. Summit Trail, Mt. Diablo State Park. February 14, 2009.

Mt. Diablo viewed from Marsh Creek Reservoir. December 7, 2009.

Fog droplet on Coulter pine needle. Ridge Trail, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.

Mt. Diablo rises above the fog. January 28, 2010.

Deer Lake, Royal Gorge.

The Mt. Diablo Summit. February 18, 2006.

Rime frost on window pane. January, 1994.

The crowns of California buckeyes on Coyote Ridge, Round Valley. Winter solstice, 2016.

Sand Hill Cove, Point Lobos State Reserve. January 23, 2016.

California buckeye seed along Deer Flat Trail, Mt. Diablo State Park.

Mt. Diablo at sunrise viewed from Marsh Creek Reservoir. January 12, 2013.

Devil’s Peak, Royal Gorge.

Sunrise on the apex of fog-bound Round Valley.

A trio of Coulter pines on the Juniper Trail. Mt. Diablo State Park. February 14, 2009.

Lunar corona over Brentwood. New's Year Day, 2010.

Manzanitas on Eagle Peak, Mt. Diablo.

Fog enshrouds the apex of Round Valley, elevation 1,220’.