The second week of November, the silvery full moon smiles on a clear evening, shining a bright spotlight, revealing shadows masqueraded as slow strolling trees during midnight’s chill. Sadly, morning fog plays hide-and-seek with nature’s palette, the lawn covered in powdered sugar-looking frost. An afternoon drive under autumn’s arching tree canopy of colorful changing leaves feels like a Twilight Zone moment inside a Monet landscape painting. Intense tones fade too quickly, trees jiggle-joggle limbs in a November harsh breeze. Leaves drop to the ground like summer Olympic winners diving a competitive triple gainer. One lonely golden leaf hugs a branch tight, fighting temperamental weather, until the final flip-flop to the top of the pile. Branches stretch like a motionless nude, posing in art class, looking longingly at the warm wardrobe lying just out of reach.
Cattails crowd in the ditch on the side of the road to home, like a group of purring tail-wagging kittens, creating a diverse refuge. Red wing blackbird’s perch on tall tips—singing oak-a-lee, oak-a-lee—until seasonal changes cause the soft brown cattails to explode. Silky covered seeds scatter in a waft of wind, gathering in a cluster upon the slope, looking like colorless cotton candy. As the setting sun shades the western skyline…pink pastel, a V-shaped silhouette of ducks fly overhead, searching for an evening shelter. The earth spins seasons on an evolving globe of change, instinct and intuition become guides as shorter November days return year after year—a magical re-run, but never the same scenario. An early snow covers the view, creating a blank page to rewrite a new beginning, or forming a stylish white garment for Mother Nature’s slow dance with Father Time.
November’s chill, I am magically transported to long ago with Dad. We were a great team, riding in the old pickup to the lumberyard, filling the cargo bed with a fifty-cent payment for a load of sawed log ends. We took turns climbing the tall mountain heap of wood. The top seemed to touch the sun. We tossed wedges of wood, or caught thrown chunks, arranging the pieces in tight formation. The back of the old truck over filled, springs squeaked, swaying in our slow ride home. We bounced in the seat like a popped jack-in-the-box. Taking a break before unloading the pickup, we drank hot chocolate, teasing each other, telling Mom, “I threw the biggest pieces,” followed by the retort, “No, no, I threw the biggest.” Who said what didn’t matter in our wordy battle of toss and catch. It was fun being silly after hard work. Mom played along during our snack-time break, refilling hot chocolate to thaw our red noses. Many mornings, I had the task of feeding the hungry furnace in the small, crowded basement cellar. Shivering in the before sunrise cold, I started a fire from dried wood in the bin. Poking the flames, crackling sounds burst an aroma, provoked from burning sap, heating our imitation igloo, as smoke-signals puffed out the chimney over the snow blanketed roof. The furnace blasted enough power to move a locomotive. I rushed upstairs to stand over an open floor vent. Cold bones were warmed from gusts of heat blowing up my pajama legs. The hot breeze circulating from the air duct, created fantasies to fly south, like honking Canadian geese.