November

On Halloween the wind blew hard, and all day, so that November dawned gray and leafless. Not long into the month we had our first snow. This is early, for our time and place. Usually the first snow coincides with Christmas.

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So far the snow has been light and ornamental, not a logistic problem. I sincerely hope it stays that way for a long, long time. People who think that being snowed in is fun must not have small children.

Speaking of small children: my daughter was wild with delight, when she saw the snow. We bundled up to play outside. She lay down on the porch, where the covering was most nearly solid, to make a snow angel. Then she asked to build a snowman, and I regretfully explained that that wasn’t in the cards, for the day.

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Other than brief bouts of fun in the snow, November has mostly been too cold and too gray for it to be pleasant outdoors. I did manage a handful of walks in the early part of the month. The woods were redolent with the smells of woodsmoke, rotting leaves, rotting walnut hulls, and bucks in musk. A fine eight-pointer walked through our front yard, one morning, as if he owned the place. I am afraid of them, at this time of year. Once I went out my front door, around the front of the house, and nearly walked into one. He didn’t charge me, though the smell of him was so strong I held my breath until I was inside again.

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The nights have been frosty cold. It is the time to pile on blankets, to wear socks to bed, to curl up by the fire and with each other. My husband and daughter spend their evenings huddled together, both absorbed in their own quiet pursuits. After she goes to bed, it is my turn. I am allowed to put the backs of my cold hands on him, but not the palms.

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Thanksgiving draws near. Plans have been flying thick and fast among the women. Everyone knows who will take care of the turkey, but will there be ham, too? Who will do the potatoes and green beans? Will there be enough desserts? Will there be pie? Does anyone care for relish trays, or cranberry sauce?

This year my husband will give me shooting lessons, over the holiday. We have a convenient empty field and an old gun and fresh ammo. He says that he never could hit the broad side of a barn with that gun, but we’ll try. I’m not so much interested in hitting anything as I am in the feel of the thing going off.

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Oh, November. What a month. Horizontal rain-snow, gray skies, blustery winds. I suppose the food of the month has been chicken barley soup, though I only made it three days ago. We are still eating it, any time we don’t have other ideas about what to have for a meal.

It is time for me to sign off. Thanksgiving duties call. I hope your holiday is merry, full of food and family and friends, long and lazy, and satisfied with the summer that has passed. I’ll see you again in December. Are you ready for the holidays?

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