November- Winter’s cold fingers



But there is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods…for their glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them.”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Windy Poplars

When did this happen?  I step out our backdoor and look at the woods.  The trees are no longer dressed in crimson and gold…they are bleached, cold and naked. When did this happen?  Snow, mud,and dry dead leaves have replaced our beautiful summer.    I had the same feeling as the author above, it almost seems indecent to look at the trees in their reduced state.   It reminds me of waiting in line for an X-ray when everyone is clothed in the thin hospital gowns.  Or seeing the elderly in their night clothes.  November, is the cold fingers of winter reaching out and clearing the way. I did a little reading up on what the poets have said about November and I hate to say it but none of it is good!

Here are some exerts from a poem by Thomas Hood:

No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,


So then I look again to the woods and a slow sense of acceptance takes hold.  November in the woods is a time of purification and solitude.  One can only look on in silence. In his book, A Book of Spiritual Exercises, Fr.Anthony De Mello, writes:

” Solitude is an act of love, a kindness to myself.

I give myself the gift of solitude, for solitude is a time when I see things as they are.”

So this is November, a time when winter gets its  cold fingers upon us.  November is a time of solitude and seeing.   November reminds us that solitude  can be a good thing. Living in the woods, I am always surprised in November to suddenly see things which the trees have hidden from our view.  There are always discoveries to be made and a cold beauty to be found.