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.

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