Apparently, “Gandalf” made an appearance here lately—at least, that’s what some people were calling the big snow storm that lasted for two days here in the valley. I don’t know who started the name or how far it spread among residents, but it entertained me to think of the great white wizard lending his name to a blizzard that simultaneously cleaned up the smog that had stuck in the valley for a week and gave the dogs a new playground to romp in, their tongues lolling out of their big grinning jaws.

The skies are now clear and lovely, but it’s also very cold. While it wasn’t pleasant to drive in, the snow is pleasant to look at—from inside your cozy house, cuddled up in a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate watching (and quoting from) one of your favorite movies about some of your favorite avenging super heroes.

It wouldn’t be winter—and it certainly wouldn’t be nearly as pretty—without a blanket of the white stuff covering the land up here in the “Frozen North.”