Sunday, November 22, 2009

The other November

Yes, November can be blear and drear. But it also has another face, caused by the same forces that often make it bleak and depressing.

The tumultuous skies and low sun angle sometimes combine to light up the world with gold and drama. Some of the most gorgeous moments of the year occur early or late in a November day. The starkness of the landscape, when illuminated by sun flaring below the cloud cover, looks more like a painting than reality and takes my breath away. Drab colors become vivid, clothing the naked world in beauty. Sunrises and sunsets take on hues not seen any other time of year.

Though temperatures drop below freezing at night and struggle above it during the day, the air is crisp and vivifying. It's the best time of year for outdoor work and play. You can exert without overheating, so your energy stays up for hours. And because nothing is growing, yet the ground hasn't frozen, you can undertake yard and garden or construction projects that would be miserable any other time of year.

If not for these benefits, I would dread November. Each day is shorter than the last, and the annual, expensive drudgery of keeping warm dominates daily life. But the onset of holiday bustle and the race to get things done before snow make the calendar pages flip by quickly. When the month is gone, I look forward to it coming around again just to experience those fleeting, gilt-edged moments that only occur in November.

Carolyn Haley
Author: Open Your Heart with Gardens
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