This year, November hasn't been quite like itself; instead of gray, we've had blue skies and mild temperatures. But today I awoke to a perfect November day, with overcast skies and clouds come down to earth in drifting billows of fog. The contrast of dark with white moisture and the lack of sun and shadow heightens the minimal colors left in the landscape.
The broad view from my bedroom window shows layers of space: trees overlapping trees, hills fading in distance until the farthest White Mountains are seen, partially hidden by banks of clouds. Only broken edges of snowbanks remaine from last week's snow, after days of mild weather.
The dried grasses seem brilliantly golden alongside the whites of icy pond and birch.
Looking back toward the barn, there is still some rich green in the lawn. A dark mass of weeds looks somehow vibrant, repeating the shape of barn and tree.
In my backyard, the leaves of rugosa roses still hold the colors of rust, shouting them loudly enough for me to enjoy from my office window.
Turning and looking back east I see red branches in the gray stone wall and a few russet leaves bravely clinging. This is certainly a melancholy season, as the world quiets and closes in on itself, but it has its own particular beauty. I'd like to offer a perfect poem for November, sad and lyrical, shared this morning by an artist friend from the Netherlands, Martin Scholte. It is by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) and translated by Milan Kundera:
On all hilltops
There is peace,
In all treetops
You will hear
Hardly a breath.
Birds in the woods are silent.
Just wait, soon
You too will rest.