Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November is

"November is the aging year, a woman whose Springtime children have grown and gone their way but whose hair is often spangled, whose gray eyes are often alight, and whose dress of grays and browns is neither dour nor dowdy. November is berry-bright and firelight-gay, a glittering night, a crisp blue day, a whispering wind and a handful of determined fence row asters.

November is the little hemlock in a green lace party dress, and a clean-limbed gray birch laughing in the wind. November is apple cider with champagne beads of authority; it is a gray squirrel in the limber top of the hickory tree, graceful as the wind; it is a doe and her fawn munching winesap windfalls in the moonlit orchard. It is a handful of snowflakes flung over a Berkshire hilltop, and a woodchuck sniffing the wind and retreating to his den to sleep till April.

November is a rabbit hound baying the hillside; a farm boy in a canvas coat and a red cap, the 16-gauge in the crook of his arm, on the hills of the upper pasture; a grouse bursting from underfoot with a roar of wings and rocketing into the thicket. It is hog butchering and cracklings and sage and pepper and fresh sausage. It is a fox barking in the starlight and an owl in the old dead popple asking midnight questions. It is high-heaped firewood and leaf-banked walls and buckwheat cakes for breakfast.

And November is the memory of the years. It is turkey in the oven, and plum pudding and mince pie and pumpkin and creamed onions and mashed yellow turnip. It is a feast and celebration; but is is also the remembering and the Thank You, God, and the understanding. That's the heart of it: November's maturing and understanding." --Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons

13 comments:

Ruth said...

This description is beautiful. It describes a Canadian October rather than November. I don't know anything about Borland, but he must have lived south of me!

Lynne said...

I'm loving my copy of "Sundial of the Seasons". It was a bit tattered and worn when I got it, It'll be well-worn when I'm done with it!

Are those pics from your house?

LauraHinNJ said...

Ruth: I want to say that Borland lived in Connecticut, but I'm not sure of that.

Lynne: It is a great book, and I love his entries for the first of each month, although this one isn't a favorite. I keep my copy at my desk and read an entry per day - really nice.

I bought mine used also, but treasure it.

Those pics are from my living room - fall-themed clutter!

Susan Gets Native said...

Makes me want to put on a sweater, kick some leaves and then make a nice roaring fire in the fireplace!

Mary said...

I'm going to find that book.

Rhea said...

Very nice piece. Where do you live in NJ? I grew up in Middlesex County.

silverlight said...

Great essay you found. I was trying define what November is. It's than just fall leaves, pumpkin and pilgrims.
This piece did it for me. Guess I will look up Borland.

LauraHinNJ said...

Rhea: Hi! I'm in Monmouth County - by the beach. ;-)

Silverlight: Do look him up!

lené said...

What a beautiful piece about November. Thanks for posting it.

Cathy said...

What a delight to find this Hal Borland ode to November. Most November poetry is so dreary. Thanks for sharing it.

Susan said...

Laura,
No posts for 5 days?? Hope all is well! I saw the nice photo of you on Birdchick's blog.

Susan said...

OK, I did a screen refresh & voila, 4 more recent posts popped up!

LauraHinNJ said...

Cathy: Borland is wonderful. Thanks for stopping by here!

Susan: Acck! That silly pic of me. Anyway, I'm here... posting away despite Blogger's fits and starts.