This short article appeared in the New York Times on Tuesday, November 9, 2010, on the editorial page. It was entitled "The Rural Life: Seasonal Slippage," and was written by Verlyn Klinkenborg. It really captured my feelings about November; maybe it will do the same for you.
Just about now, I remember that the trees on this farm will be bare for the next six months. It always comes as a surprise. The maples and hickories have mulched themselves with their own leaves, and they seem to have gone rigid now that they carry so much less sail in the wind. Everything that can die back has done so. The last of the woodchucks have gone down their burrows. The tide of dormancy is rising all around me, and on a rainy day with the woodstove going, I wonder whether I'll sink or swim.
Even as the temperature hovers in the 40s, I can feel January in the back of my mind. I try hard to keep it out, as if that might guarantee a mild winter. By the time the hard cold gets here, I'll be inured to it. But, truthfully, I'm still back in mid-August, before the Barn Swallows vanished, before the pokeweed berries were ripe enough for the Cedar Waxwings, before the chipmunks gorged on the dogwood drupes.
This month, more than any other, I slip in and out of the season, never quite able to coincide with the calendar. Looking southward from my office, the sky above the treetops is more than overcast. It's a squirrel-gray, beech-bark sky...
Soon I'll put on my barn coat and work gloves and muck boots. And the minute I step ouside, I'll step back into proper time. January recedes because it's so purely November, the mud deep in the barnyard, the rain picking up again. I walk down to the barn and stand in the doorway, taking shelter with the tractor and all the implements of summer--the spade, the garden fork, the pig fence and the chicken fences.I realize that I'm filled, as always, with expectation. It's a look I see in the horses' eyes when they know their grain is coming. On a dark afternoon, rain falling, they stand in the middle of the pasture with no thought of the shelter they could take. They are November horses now, just the way they were June horses not so long ago.