Sunday, November 29, 2009


Leaves, naturally, fall. The tree performs an abscission, cuts the leaf off at the petiole, and the wind and gravity do the rest. Nothing personal. Don't let the branch hit you on the way out.

Yesterday, Saturday, a pugnacious wind, hard to bike against, force 6 on the Beaufort scale. A real leaf-stripper. Black locust-pods lying black and snaky on the sidewalk. And when I get home, what the hell? A tree has descended, inappropriately, into our backyard, like an overly inquisitive dinosaur.

Part of a tree, actually, has sheared off of the giant forty-foot (pearless) pear tree in the neighbor's yard adjoining our yard, crushing the wooden fence, falling alongside the garage gutter, missing the garage, resting beside the corner of the driveway, affable but also awful, like a big man who's fallen to the sidewalk and won't ever get up.

There are two pear trees, putting out frothy white blossoms in May (but no fruit), and holding on to their late-to-abscise red leathery leaves until deep into December. Nor is this the first time a big hunk of tree has come down in a wind. Last time it was the right-hand tree. Another Act of God, minus the deductable.


Later on, I took a walk down to Spy Pond to catch the last of the gloaming. The wind roughing up the surface of the pond. One thin line of cloud above the trees, moving right to left like a row of snakes, their underline going from pink to salmon to brown to black. The distant trees, like most trees now, etched sharp and skeletal against the pale yellow.

The night before, I dreamed I was a tree, symbolically, as if I had been handed a slip of paper with TREE on it. You're a tree. The implication seemed to be that I was approaching a period of dormancy. Dormancy wouldn't be so bad. Writing these things has been depriving me of dormancy lately. Being a tree wouldn't be so bad, either. Except for the unexpected downdraft that cracks off a limb. But, you know, these things happen.

By coincidence, there was a one-panel comic strip in Saturday's Globe, "Bliss," showing a guy with his arms around a huge tree, saying: "Never leave me."

I won't, Harry. Not intentionally.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fat Friday

The house wakes up slowly. Something big but good happened here yesterday. Two tables bear quiet testimony in the living room and dining room, still covered with tablecloths, carrying candles, half-full candy bowls, a few chocolate wrappers, a few stains. More big, good things will happen today, but not with the intensive industry of the day before: Carol basting the bird, Jacques ministering to the gravy, Norman uncorking the wine, Jacqueline expediting the kale, Mimi midwifing the sweet potatoes, Mark emceeing the pies. Today, Fat Friday, is pure benefit. A languid breakfast, a pre-ordained lunch, a smaller version of last night's supper. It's Boxing Day without presents, cushioned by a half-day and holiday on one side, a weekend on the other. It has no agenda, other than maybe a movie or, if you like, a ticket to visit December, which is setting up on November's turf today, five days early, hope you don't mind. No, it's fine. November will put on a flannel shirt and go for a walk. Loosen a few more leaves. Eat an apple, toss the core. Finish up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Well. it should have a name, this particular Wednesday. It doesn't have an official title, like Ash Wednesday does, and arguably it's a bigger Wednesday than that one, what with people getting out of work early, hitting the road, biggest traffic day of the year, clean the house, start prepping for the feast tomorrow, get the guest room ready, buy a couple of more things—gouda cheese; kale; um, some nice apples?

But it's a big-hearted day, this Wednesday, the Eve, full of good smells and anticipation of a good time, like a visit from a favorite uncle. Maybe said uncle does pull into the driveway today, Uncle Wally, a robust guy, but unassuming. Reminiscent of the unseen benefactor in that old Glenn Miller number, "Elmer's Tune" (sung with laid-back authority by Ray Eberle and the Modernaires)

The hurdy-gurdies, the birdies, the cop on the beat
The candy maker, the baker, the man on the street
The city charmer, the farmer, the man in the moon
All sing Elmer's Tune!

(By the way, his name was Elmer Albrecht, the writer of the tune. And according to, Elmer was a mortician who worked next to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago and used a piano there during his lunch hour to play some of his own music. Well, a bandleader, Dick Jurgens liked one of Elmer's tunes and arranged it for his big band. Sammy Gallop wrote the great lyrics. You can bet that the second line originally started: "The undertaker, the baker..." in honor of Elmer, and someone thought it was too morbid. Maybe it was Elmer.)

Meanwhile, November's work is done, pretty much. You'd know this gray and brown drizzly day as a November one at half a glance. I think five leaves are left on the young maple across the street, waiting for an opportune wind to come along.

Ah, Uncle Wally is practicing his clarinet. G'night, Uncle Wally.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Innocent

A large dead bird arrived today. The other items in the refrigerator are keeping their distance, as the jack and the spare tire might do in a murderer's trunk. This has nothing to do with Tuesday, however. Tuesday is innocent. Wednesday, on the other hand, is deeply involved, there's no use pretending otherwise. We won't even speak of Thursday. And Friday is like the fixer in Dylan's "Highway 61 Revistited" who complicitly says "Yes, it can be very easily done." Friday's in it up to its eyeballs.

But Tuesday is innocent. Maybe it has a certain twinkle of amusement. But it goes about its business with its usual Tuesday matter-of-factness. Maybe it even whistles, very low. It can be allowed that. If it goes any further, like a throaty chuckle, then it runs the risk of smugness. And smugness means it might be hiding something. Tuesday blinks its large innocent eyes behind its glasses. "Me? Not at all!" And its smile, under its trim moustache, is so sincere, you immediately chastise yourself for being suspicious.

Meanwhile, as I write, Barack Obama is hosting the prime minister of India at the White House in a state dinner. The menu, according to the blog Taragana: Potato and eggplant salad; White House arugula with onion seed vinaigrette; 2008 sauvignon blanc, Modus Operandi, Napa Valley, Calif.; Red lentil soup with fresh cheese; 2006 Riesling, Brooks “Ara,” Willamette Valley, Ore.; Roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chick peas and okra or green curry prawns, caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens and coconut-aged basmati; 2007 grenache, Beckmen Vineyards, Santa Ynez, Calif.; Pumpkin pie tart, pear tatin, whipped cream and caramel sauce; Sparkling chardonnay, Thibaut Janisson Brut, Monticello, Va.; Petits fours and coffee; Cashew brittle; Pecan pralines; Passion fruit and vanilla gelees; Chocolate-dipped fruit.

I'm just saying.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Dogtown Chronicles

If I am the landlord of October, by virtue of my birthday, then my sister Doris owns the neighboring realm of November. Her meander through the month to her birthday doesn't go quite as far into the serious twenties as mine. She arrived there yesterday, the 21st.

Happy birthday, Dotch!

Somehow, the days of our respective birthdays remind me of the wallpaper in our respective bedrooms as kids. Oct. 27 corresponds to my galloping cowboys thundering across plain and gully, whooping browns and greens and reds. Nov. 21 seems to go with her white and gold cool chic wallpaper. She was also Seventeen magazine to my Mad.

Nowadays she oversees November from a redwood aerie in Dogtown, California, overlooking vulture-cruised, coyote-echoing, Olema Valley in West Marin County. It's dense with live oaks and eucalyptus trees, persimmons and passionflowers, and over the years it has also been home to San Clemente goats, Jacob sheep, a pair of Scottish Highland steer, llamas, chickens, geese, cats, dogs, one remarkable horse, and a great variety of wild animals, including predators ranging from raccoons to mountain lions.

The stories that emerge from her days have made for some extraordinary emails and phone conversations over the years. Luckily, the world can now hear those stories too. She has written a wonderful book entitled The Dogtown Chronicles: Our Life and Times with Sheep, Goats, Llamas, and Other Creatures. It contains all the accounts in an enthralling narrative, with fine line-drawing illustrations by Connie Mery and brilliant photographs by Dory's husband and mayor of Dogtown, Richard Kirschman.

You can follow this link to the book's website:

It's as good as going to Dogtown, almost.

Friday, November 20, 2009

When numbers get serious

Paul Simon has a song with that title which I can't say I understand, but I think I know when numbers get serious every month, and that's when they hit the twenties. Numbers live a short life in November or any month. Twenty is getting old, and in November, 20 is the day the captain announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, we're beginning our descent into Thanksgiving." And that's right, it's less than a week away, certainly a day to prepare for. (It's that word, Thanksgiving. It's as long as a train, and all the colors of a first grader's paper plate turkey with tailfeathers fanned. A cornucopia of a word, an elementary school take-home flyer of a word. And she is seriously the tsarina of the twenties. This year: 26.)


There are only about nineteen leaves still on the young maple tree we planted three years ago on the grassy strip next to our neighbor's driveway. It's a good thirteen feet tall now with a handful of red leaves shivering like paratroopers sitting stoically in a cargo bay. Trees ARE calendars, of course, their rings are neat simulacra of the sun's orbits. But you can only look back after the tree has been separated from its roots. Now that's ironic.

It's hard to look back on one day, let alone a lifetime of days. It rained. It was warm. The mailman wore shorts again. The clouds were titanic Miyazaki clouds, massing dangerously against the blue, muttering "It's true, we can't deal with you now as we'd like, but just try to stay out of our way, just try!"


That's all I have to say, it being nighttime and Friday, but November 20th deserves a serious handshake and a lime rickey or two. Dude--

We all need to spend more time drifting
For daydreams and thoughts require sifting.
In bed or a boat
It’s important to float,
A practice both wise and uplifting.

I’m falling asleep at this keyboard
I have no idea what my re-ward
Will... (Okay, that was random.
Dude, think of your fandom!
And end with a loud C-E-G chord!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


These days, the last wedge of the afternoon is a kind of a compressed day, going with startling but fluid speed from daylight to dusk in a half an hour. I walked through that wedge from Alewife station, the northern end of the Red Line subway, along the Bikeway to Spy Pond, on either side of four o'clock today.

I had three encounters. The first was a hawk in a tree. Always exciting and faintly threatening to see that heavy shape up in the branches. I backed up, walked around, to get a better angle. A redtail, I thought. It was the second hawk in a tree I'd seen in a few days, after a sharpshin in the neighbor's tree, in the rain, through the kitchen window. This one didn't care for my scrutiny. It opened its wings, rolled out, tail fanned in full yes-I'm-a-redtail-what-of-it fashion and flew on a flat line toward the sunset.

The next encounter was botanical. A small tree sporting a full dress of catkins (or slippers for toes) that looked a bit like pussywillows but bigger, and jade green, not silvery. A magnolia, I thought. I hadn't known they put these out in the fall. ("I stroked one. Felt nice. I knew whose work this was. Nature's. I could spot it a mile away.") Leaving the magnolia (it was, after all, Magnolia Park), I entered the woodsy part of the trail, again the old gold colonnade, late riches for November, but some stubborn green too, passing a mom and baby in parked stroller, being passed by bikes and quicker walkers (though as they approach, you tend to increase your pace, complicating things). Thinking of how October is a month older, but November, oddly, is the aged one, until I realize that November IS (or was) October.

Then, I emerged from the woods for my third encounter, the final act, a diffusion of lemon yellow layering the horizon on the other side of Spy Pond. Its water barely rippled. And it looked like a lake at a sleepover camp, the way the summer evening settles over the dark opposite shore. I watched like a hunkered redtail as the yellow deepened, and the faintest pink rays, only apparent by looking away, suggested themselves above it like watermarks of light. Then yellow went peach, all very slow and drawn out. Birds going somewhere in twos or threes. And all that was missing was a bugle playing taps across the water, the final long note lingering.
Time to head back to my bunk.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Moon and Old Gold

My friend Christina writes on Facebook, "Oh, fellow almanacky one, today is a new moon...good time to start a new project." And sure enough, there it is on the calendar, the black dot that always seems so counter-intuitive: how can the new moon be the one you can't see? Shouldn't it be the full one, the one that gets the over-the-campfire name (Harvest, Hunter's, Pink, Wolf, Laughing, Sneezy, Grumpy, Rutabaga, Cantaloupe, Calliope, Kaleidoscope, Constantine, okay, maybe not the last several, though it would be cool to name and design your own moon.) But of course that's how new things always start. The blank page, the empty canvas, the missing moon. You don't start with full.

The moon is sort of the secret muse of almanacs, anyway. Sponsor of the months, puller of the tides, chaperone of the crops and doyenne of the cycles that are the gears almanacs and calendars run on. The sun, too, of course, but the sun's like the owner or the CEO. When you run into the sun in the elevator you never know what to say. Whereas the moon, the moon's our neighbour. With a u. There's a Donald Barthelme story that starts: "See the moon? It likes us..." That moon is the moon I mean.

Mind you, I used to be afraid of the moon, as a kid. The bland pitiless face blazing coldly on the other side of the venetian blinds, daring me to look. But over time you realize the moon can't help its barren spotlit complexion. It wants to make friends. And you can draw on it. A face. A hare. Or maybe the Ragman and the Pooch: an old (timeless) bent-over guy with a bundle on his back on the left, reaching out to his companion, a seated poodle. KInd of like the Pieman and Simple Simon on the old Howard Johnson's logo. What do they talk about? Whatever you want. The moon is the ultimate sock puppet.

Even, or especially, the moon you can't see.

(postscript: Just checked on that Barthelme story, "See the Moon?" And it doesn't start "See the moon? It likes us." Unless I'm thinking of another story, it starts: "I know you think I'm wasting my time." And more tellingly: a few lines down it says: "See the moon? It hates us." Interesting. Speaking of how you can draw/write anything you want on the moon.)

Later that day...

Had to capture a few minutes of a ride along the Minuteman Bike Path in the last hour of the day before sunset. Riding through brilliant bands of sun and shadow through a colonnade of old gold, November's last guard before leavetaking. There is something touchingly royal about November after it passes the midpoint. The proud sadness of history, a history only going back about seven months in the annals of the leaves, but still museum-worthy, or troubadour-worthy, a few birds left to tell the tale. Makes you want to say, goodbye, old gold as you say hello, unilluminated moon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Luck and Pluck

Some days are gobsmacked. Born losers. No fighting it.
I woke to the sound of cursing in the kitchen. My son was using up precious time trying to slide back into the toaster oven the metal rack that I had removed last night to make room for some pizza slices, thereby forcing him to eat Cheerios this morning instead of the toasted waffles he so richly deserved. (Not pleasant, is it, having to read pizza and Cheerios in the same sentence.) So I gave him a ride, barely averting his being late for school, but throwing my morning into disarray. Later, I repeatedly failed in my attempt to pick up a Cheerio off the rug with my bare foot. It was that kind of day.

On the other hand, I successfully completed the Friday NYT crossword, learning in the process that a BOOSTERBOX is an item-concealing shoplifting aid; OSHKOSH is the seat of Winnebago County, and a TEASPOON is 1/768 of a gallon.

Today Friday and the number 13, on a collision course since the beginning of time, finally met. Not coincidentally, a large part of Arlington, including our house, suffered a power failure between 3 and 4 this afternoon. Still, as power failures go, it wasn't such a bad one. One quirky hour before it got dark. Minorly annoying having to reset the clocks on the answering machine and the computers. But it was sort of diverting taking a walk to Arlington center, calling, "Your power out, too?" and watching gobsmacked merchants in the doors of their darkened stores.

I once had an almanac calendar (free from the local drugstore) with each day inscribed with a one-word weather forecast: blustery, rain, clearing, pleasant, and so forth. This was in 1962, six months after my father had died. We had moved to El Paso, Texas, I was twelve, and I felt the need for a daily compass. So I took these forecasts as indicators of luck. When they didn't fit, I tried them backwards. It was better than random, I thought at the time. But random is more like what days are. And random allows for sifting, which may yield as much good luck as bad. Like today.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Edgar and the Elevens

Sounds a bit like a lounge act. Or maybe an intriguing children's book. But it's my title for yesterday, the slightly spooky, but always dapper, 11/11, which I mostly spent finishing an article for 8th graders about Edgar Allan Poe, the father of the detective story.

Poe gets into your head. He sort of vaults out of the 19th century the way some people seem to be too new-fashioned for their time. Deliberately flunking out of West Point. Marrying his 13-year-old cousin, Virginia (shades of Jerry Lee Lewis). And dying mysteriously in Baltimore at age 40 after being found delirious in ragged second-hand clothes. But I avoided any of that. My territory was C.Auguste Dupin and the Murders in the Rue Morgue (committed, as we know, [spoiler alert] by an orangutan) and The Purloined Letter (hiding in plain sight) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle writing about always following "the footmarks of Poe" and finally the Edgar award for best mystery book of the year.

But I was interrupted at 11:00 a.m. by eleven blasts from the stentorian horn of the Arlington fire house. Right, Veteran's Day. Ceremony up at the nearby war memorial. Must remember to observe a moment of silence at 11:11:11. Of course I went back to inserting alliterations and didn't remember. Instead, there were little curls of thought during the day: of Paul Simon singing "On Armistice Day, the Philharmonic will play / and the song that they sing will be sad..." and when I lived in Vancouver, it was Remembrance Day, almost always rainy or overcast, with a solemn ceremony at the cenotaph in Victory Square downtown (with its spooky inscription: Is it nothing to you / all ye that pass by) and the ubiquitous red poppies people wore in their lapels (so we know what day it probably is in "Penny Lane," in which a pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray).

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? That used to get me. Still does. It's rare when public memorials talk to you. You feel you need to answer back. "No. It's not nothing! But I've got a lot on my mind. And why are you so negative, anyway, stone? Lighten up!" Except you don't lighten up a cenotaph. It's dour (doo-er), probably speaks in a glowery Scottish burr. And what of Poe? Doubtful anyone ever told him to lighten up. Hey, Edgar, how about "The Misunderstanding in the Rue Morgue"? Nevermore.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wicked Indian Summah!

The dreamlike day has packed up and went. Now there is just this slightly dazed memory of yesterday.
We knew it was going to happen. Temperature of 70 degrees predicted. The rakish, sporty, seven oh! But by mid-morning, it was beyond the number. It was seeing the mailman wearing shorts. And people strolling down Mass. Ave. with faraway grins as if somehow finding themselves in a home movie of a 1950s vacation in Havana. And the pumpkins on the front steps looking giddy to find a November day speaking Octoberish, never mind that the warmth and hazy sun increased the chance of a trip to Moldyville on tomorrow's garbage pick-up.

Even remembering it today is like trying to write a dream down. But there was a moment siting on the front porch next to the pumpkins, listening to the maple leaves clattering paperily in the mild breeze. Waiting for the plumber. Taking notes for this ("mailman wearing shorts/sun glows through milky haze").

Indian Summer and I go way back. There's a family anecdote dating back to 1955, when I was six or seven. We were driving to Boston, my mother, father, and I, on our way to my dad's first heart operation, the successful one. He wrote about it in an article called "I Beat Heart Failure" for a Sunday supplement magazine a few years later. "It was a languid Indian summer morning..." Then I pipe up from the back seat (as if breaking into the narrative): "What is Indian summer?" To which my father replies: "It's like a second summer that comes as a surprise after the weather turns cold." (NIce succinct definition.) To which my mom adds: "Think of summer as a living thing about to die. Then, by the grace of God, it gets a new lease on life." And the scene ends: "One of my wife's hands found mine on the front seat and squeezed it for a moment."

The new lease didn't last as long as they'd hoped, about five years. But that's all the more reason to enjoy the lease while you have it. And even though today's in the sixties and overcast, I did send the other November a vacation postcard from yesterday with a wacky greeting that said something like: "Dear November, I think I've found out where the time goes. I might just stay here! Hasta luego."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where does the time go?

Here's one theory. Let's say you have stored time in a folder of old work emails loaded onto a 4 GB flash drive, including those ones called "Pupdates" that captured your son's first sentences and steps and other milestones; and let's say you'd been carrying around that little plug of memories in a shirt pocket and you forgot to check in all the pockets when you threw your laundry into the washing machine (see where this is going?). And let's say that later that day, after the laundry had spun to a rest, you lifted the lid of the washing machine to move the wet clothes into a bin, and there you saw it: that little metal plug lying on the floor of the washing machine. Well, now you know where time went: it took one hell of a combined waterslide and tilt-a-whirl ride, then it went down the drain into the Mystic River watershed and out to sea, like Thursday's floating pumpkin.

Okay, I know, that drowned device wasn't time exactly. History, maybe: time recorded, reported,and examined, like these almanac postings. And maybe time doesn't go anywhere. Maybe time is just the ticket to the events, entitling the bearer to spend time eating, sleeping, writing, etc. But it seems like the events are going somewhere in their relentless journey from now to just to yesterday.

This started as a wry thing, a consolation prize for losing Matthew's childhood ("It's a minor thing," he assured me after lecturing me on not backing up my files), and now I seem to be seriously trying to answer the above question, which effort will now be suspended, except to repeat it while looking at my watch and seeing that once again I've managed to stay up till one a.m.
Where does the time go?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Most people deliberately ignore the first garbage day after Halloween. They keep their jack o' lanterns on the front porch or front steps for at least a week into November, maybe more. I see these pumpkins, big, small, squat, narrow, grinning, scowling, lining our street. They look a little uneasy. Not as sure of their credentials, maybe. They're October guys in a land of colder, fewer, plainer, darker. Holding themselves like soldiers from a dispersed army. Waiting for something to happen.

We have one carved and one uncarved guy sitting together on the white porch railing of our two-family house. The carved one is taller, his smile turning soft and inward. He looks like he'd nervously talk all night, worrying about being spoiled by rot, or crows, or skunks, or bad weather, or just the unknown. The other one would not reply, of course. Eventually, maybe on the 10th or the 17th, it will be time to place him on top of the trash container. From guy to garbage. Seems cruel. But maybe a raccoon will dislodge him in the wee hours and he will roll down Allen Street and across Mass. Ave, and keep rolling to Linwood, which really does slope, so down he'd tumble, kersplash, into Spy Pond. Where he'd float with the currents and wash up on the shore of Elizabeth Island, befriended by squirrels, ducks, and jays. Or else the garbage truck will take him away after all and he'll ponder the meaning of November as squash in some landfill. So it goes.

Speaking of guys, today is the day of Guy Fawkes, who is burned in effigy on Bonfire Night in Britain and other places. That's the Guy who gave us the word guy (originally meaning "an oddly dressed chap" after the effigies). Today is one of the remembering days of November, even if it's to remember a plot to blow up the British Parliament buildings in 1605. Or as John Lennon sang: "Remember ... remember ... the fifth of November! (KABOOM!)"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Now it begins to sink in. Something serious is going on. Trees are shedding their leaves at an alarming rate. Some are in yellow skirts already. New leaves need to be windshield-wiped off the windshield in the morning. It's a kind of epidemic. Zombie leaves skittering up on bleak sidewalks or falling in drifts. Some invisible agent orange stealthily at work. And the new early nightfall, that's sudden. Who cares if it's lighter earlier now? It's the other end that matters, the gloaming at 4:45. We'd forgotten. Now it comes back, like cold marsh water seeping into a leaky boot. It dawns, or dusks, on us, so soon after Halloween. Next month is December.

Brief, oddly intimate, encounter with bald African American man about my age, maybe a little older, on Charles St. subway station, both of us waiting outside for the outbound train. Your jacket collar, he said, and reached forward to adjust it. I thanked him as I fiddled with it myself. It's still... He straightened it for me. There you go.
Sometimes it's a worthwhile venture, getting into a stranger's space. My turn now. I noted that he seemed very well-groomed himself (nice wool sweater over blue shirt and tie). I try, he said proudly. Went on to tell me about the large number of battery-powered items he carried with him in his backpack. Because you never know. The bridge could fall, he said cheerfully. And do you take multivitamins? he inquired. I do, I said. He nodded approvingly. The train pulled up. I wasn't sure if I wanted more survival advice, but as it happened, we chose different cars. God bless, he said. Nice chatting with you, I said.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


It was an artful first day, perfect high school football weather, with high cirrus clouds riding the blue and more sunlight on fewer leaves. Some trees already bare, like the big bellwether maple outside the Unitarian church in Arlington Center, one of those iconic four-season trees. Other maples in full topaz or deep red. A few slow-turners and hangers-on still in green. But the trend is clear. This is later than October. November's job, written in Caw on the manifest it got handed today, is "make it brown and take it down."

There's a National Film Board film I saw in Canada, called November/Novembre. From the NFB description: "A hundred and one lingering, luminous impressions of a month when the ripe fullness of the Canadian autumn wilts and the whole earth seems to settle into brooding calm." I mostly remember its opening image: a smashed pumpkin on a grim gray street.  But November's not the un-October, it's the logical extension of it. One owl evolving into another owl, maybe a great-horned following a barn.  It may have Octoberish diversity: stark, frosty, austere days, true Indian Summer days, and harsh days of rain and snow. But its holidays are for remembering and thanking, a rest between two months given to commerce and demonstration. Take it slow, November.