Suddenly November is here and seasons are turning quickly. Summer was long, hot and dry here in Minnesota. The tomatoes loved it and grew like weeds. Then September came and life cooled. The crispy parched leaves rattled in the fall breeze and fell quickly leaving us to think we would miss the glorious colors of the hardwood trees.
Mid – September showed up and with some of the trees and bushes still hanging on to their leaves they turned to brilliant colors. There were reds, oranges, and yellows popping out among the green leaves. They hung onto this color show well into October. When Halloween approached us they turned the colors to browns and yellows and begin to fall so tricker treaters could swish and crunch through the leaves on their way to finding goodies at the neighborhood houses.
We woke Monday morning to November one and the world seem to have changed. The sharp clear blue sky has turned to large grey clouds. We saw them forming on Halloween night. The temperature was dropping on the 31st and by the first we were down to freezing and nights dropping deep into the 20’s. The bright fall has turned to browns, deep dark reds, hazy yellows and grays. The branches of trees are now visible reaching out to the clouds. The bird’s nests are sitting empty as the little ones have grown and left for warmer locations.
There is a hush that has joined this dark time as people retreat inside. The patio’s at restaurants are empty except for a few brave souls huddled under the heaters. The children playing ball in the street are inside with homework and video games. The veggie gardens are cleared and the perennials are standing dried with seed pods waiting for birds to pick them clean. Squirrels are feeding and collecting whatever they can find to store for the winter months ahead. There are only a few more weeks that the ground will be soft enough for digging.
This is a time of year that I often sink – it is cold, dark, gardening if over and the days are so very short. This year as I felt that darker emotion rolling over me there was a little note that rang in my ear but wait it said. It is the end of this season but it is the opening of new life as well. If you take the time to bundle up and head out you can find that spring has already been set.
I was out planting tulip and iris bulbs over the weekend and needed to move a few perennial tubers over to make room. As I went digging there just under the surface of the soil were the new shoots for next spring. The tubers dark brown and muddy but the shoots glistened white with excitement for spring which is so many months away. This made me look around to see what else was waiting. The buds on the lilac bushes are ready to go. Under the dying rhubarb leaves are the budding heads of next years plants. They are just under ground ready to go but hiding from the winter frost and snow that will join us soon.
I cleaned up and came into a warm house, a cup of tea and realized there were many good books waiting to be read on these long cold and dark evening. There are many close friends and family members with vaccinations that will allow us to meet this winter indoors. And it is only about 6 weeks before we turn our eyes towards spring. (oh I know the winter solstice is the real start of winter but it is also the time when we begin to see the lengthening of daylight.) It is the time of garden catalogs, garden planning and preparing to start a few seedling inside.
Late fall and winter are a time of slowing down, regenerating and looking to new growth and beginnings. There is the New Year will all the wonders of new goals and new starts. A chance to begin again.
So as these dark days arrive and the cold begins to settle into your bones find a friend for tea or a blanket and a good book to read with a bit of chocolate and remember that spring is already waiting for you in just a few short months!
So tell me what are your go to books that you return to each year when the winter arrives and the days are short? Or what new read is on your winter to be read list?
I always read The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver each January. It takes me away from the winter cold and reminds me that we need and seek connections with nature and family. It also helps me feel the warmth of coming of spring!
Enjoy – it is November!