By Bruce Stambaugh
I always have mixed emotions whenever November rolls around. Like you, I know what it means.
After the excellent weather of October, I hate to think of what November might bring. I hope November doesn’t take offense.
I so enjoyed the string of amazing days we had during the height of the leaf looking season here in Ohio’s Amish country. Given the traffic jams I encountered, I wasn’t alone.
I cruised the back roads for calendar-worthy snapshots of the naturally painted landscapes. With the predominance of rolling hills and gentle dales, a Currier and Ives setting arose around nearly every corner. In some spots, I merely rotated to take multiple scenic photos.
The truth is I only had to step out my front door for a lovely sunrise photo. In the evening, it was the reverse. I have four seasons of brilliant sunset shots behind my Amish neighbor’s farmstead.
Once the leaves began to color this year, red, yellow, orange, gold and crimson rainbows basked in the sun for all to absorb. Stunning doesn’t begin to describe the landscapes.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Those inspiring scenes changed much too quickly for my liking, though. The colorful leaves have mostly fallen, and the dormant season is upon us. Welcome to November.
The Canada Geese fly from farm pond to harvested grain field where they glean to their gullets’ delight or some hungry hunter scares the flock to flying and honking with blasts of his 12-gauge. Given their numbers, I think the geese always win that war.
While the geese stick around, other waterfowl species wing it south. Pintails and Sandhill Cranes often lead the way. It’s a ritual that makes me smile and sad simultaneously. They’re a joy to watch, but it’s a sure sign of what weather is ahead.
I marvel at the majestic flights of all species avian. To have a Pine Siskin make a brief pit stop at your feeder brings momentary elation.
On the other hand, finding the first White-crowned Sparrow of the season checking the same feeder tells me I’d better get ready for another winter. Perhaps that is November’s ultimate purpose.
November’s fickle weather pattern is familiar by now. Its early days seem more like an October extension. A few deciduous holdouts flash the last of the lushest leaves before they drop overnight leaving only the burnished oaks to rustle in the wind.
By the month’s end, the world can suddenly change with the passing of one strong cold front. The silvery down of the milkweed seeds sail through graying skies only to be replaced the next day by the season’s first snowfall.
We’ve returned to standard time, accentuating November’s shorter days. It’s nature’s way of prepping us for colder, darker days to come.
In North America, we have concocted a dodgy purpose for the eleventh month. November ushers in the holiday season here in the United States. Commercially translated, it’s time to shop as if you needed a reminder.
Near month’s end, Thanksgiving rings in the festive mode and the glitzy commercials. Christmas then isn’t far behind.
October’s golden days are gone. The best we can hope for now is a late Indian summer. We’ll take it even if only lasts a day or two.
Ohio’s pleasant weather has melted away like a stick of butter on a hot griddle. It’s time to stack the firewood, put in the storm doors and enjoy a warm cup of mulled cider.
We have to face the truth. November is upon us.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2015