Thursday, November 30, 2017

It Gets a "D"

If someone asked me to grade the months of the year there’s no question that April and May would both get an “A”. April would deserve that grade because that’s the month the waterfowl return, the days are warming and many are absolutely balmy, the rains are usually gentle, it’s nice enough to get back on the bike, waterfalls are at their peak flow, and spring’s first wildflowers are in bloom. May receives an “A” for its generally lovely days, the surge in blooming wildflowers, colorful warblers that are returning from their winter quarters in Central and South America, deciduous trees’ buds are bursting and new leaves are expanding, in May it’s warm enough to comfortably put the canoe back on the water.

October also gets an “A” for its glorious fall colors, its pleasantly warm days with a crystal blue sky, bike rides without hordes of other folks on the rail-trail, some of the best canoeing of the year, ripe apples, white-tail bucks and bull elk that have shed their antlers’ velvet, and the bugling of rutting elk.

All the other months have their good and not so good sides that, in my opinion, warrant grades of “B” or “C” – all that is except November which gets a richly deserved “D”. Why a “D”? Because November is dark, damp, dreary and depressing, the cloudiest month of the year. Unlike me, some of my friends love November because of Thanksgiving feasts and family get-togethers, because Christmas is just around the corner, or because they’re enthusiastic hunters and deer and bear seasons are in November.

I’ll step back from grading the months to say that even in dark, damp, dreary and depressing November there are still wonderful things to see in the great outdoors. A day’s walk in field and forest reveals some color:

The yellow of a goldenrod, probably the last one I’ll see this year –

More yellow the fruit of horse nettle –

On a field’s edge a cranberrybush viburnum with its brilliant fruit –

And the mottled bark of a sycamore that also grows along the edge –

The field/woodland border is a good place to find “wild” apple trees and here was one still holding a few apples, shriveled now from having been frozen –

Then in another tree the color of the tail of a red-tailed hawk that was preoccupied in scanning for an unwary squirrel –

On a far hillside the crown of an aspen positively glowed with bright yellow leaves that were still hanging on –

Entering the forest the red leaves of a seedling red maple came into view –

Also growing low to the ground was a black huckleberry that still held a few leaves –

And a partridgeberry with its green leaves and bright red fruit –

Red isn't the only low-to-the-ground color, as demonstrated by these blue-gray turkey-tail fungi


So, even though I give November a “D”, there’s still color and joy to be found in field and forest – and occasionally a few bright sunny days.


Powell River Books said...

With all those beautiful things I would give it at least a D+. - Margy

The Furry Gnome said...

Well I'm glad you found at least a few good things about November!

Kay L. Davies said...

Your photo-portraits of November belie your 'dark and dreary' comments, Woody. You have brought a misbegotten month into the light and beauty so many of us miss.
Good work!
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

betty-NZ said...

I'm not a fan of dreary, wet weather either, but I know that it won't be around forever :) I love the photos you took. There's always a bit of color around if you really look for it!

Rambling Woods said...

I am totally with you on November for the same reasons. I love springtime. I enjoyed your photos Woody..... Michelle

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Oh, you sure found some vividly colorful stuff, despite the dreary month. I have another thing I like about November: if it gets cold enough, the ticks won't bite.