By Bruce Stambaugh
I know I’m getting old. I have a birthday soon to prove it.
I thought I just wrote about what November would bring us, and here it is done and gone already. How can that be? I think I have some answers, all of them as lovely as the month itself.
Given the last two winters, we began this November with more than a little trepidation. We had good reasons for our collective unease.
Would we be blasted with another surprise snow in the middle of the month like last year? Could we even begin to hope that November would be half as beautiful as October was?
As you happily know, November gave her best to replicate October’s stunning weather here in Ohio’s Amish country. The eleventh month wasn’t quite as bright and pretty as October, but she sure tried hard.
Even with standard time returning and the daylight hours growing fewer by the day, November was a welcome, pleasant surprise. It exceeded all expectations.
Overall, the month turned out to be a much better than average November if only measured by weather. November charmed me with its hospitality, a welcome relief from the state of affairs on the national and international political front.
It’s not too many Novembers in Ohio that you see a father and his young son walking along a sidewalk in short sleeves mid-month. Last year they would have been bundled up throwing snowballs.
Municipalities, stores, and homeowners took advantage of the decent days to put up their holiday decorations. It beat trying to hang banners and Christmas lights in blizzard-like conditions.
In some locales, Christmas decorations and Halloween displays stood side by side. I wasn’t going to judge. I just enjoyed the intended spirit each reflected, even if the timing was a little off.
The horses and cattle had to be enjoying the extended stay in the open pastures. Frequent November rains made the grass as fresh as after April showers. In fact, folks were mowing their lawns this November on the same day they were plowing out their driveways last year.
I took advantage of the excellent weather, too. I cleaned and readied my multiple bird feeders. I was hardly inside when I spotted a few infrequent Pine Siskins on the cylinder feeder by the kitchen window. They feasted on the cracked sunflower hearts.
With my firewood supply tenuous, I had three pickup loads of split and seasoned hardwoods delivered. Over the space of three days, my wife and I had it all neatly stacked behind the garden shed. Remember, I said I was getting older soon.
November’s brisk winds made regular appearances. That was good news for those who hadn’t yet raked their leaves. Their eastern neighbors may have a different viewpoint on that, however.
We had days of rain and drizzle. We had clear blue-sky days, too. And we had those days of cloudy one minute and sunny the next. None required a snow shovel.
Driving around the November countryside, the landscape seemed wider, more open. Perhaps that was due to the leafless trees affording a three-dimensional illusion, no special glasses needed.
This November frequently offered amazing sunrises and sunsets for all to enjoy. Sometimes they lingered for the longest time. Mostly, though, you had to look sharp, or you would miss the colorful show, just like the month itself.
Like Thanksgiving, November has come and gone. Bring on December and hope that it learned a little kindness from its closest sibling.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2015