Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November is the coolest month

I’ve always found November to be an interesting month. I suspect some of my feeling that way has to do with the sudden openness of the forest after months of living encased in the greenery of the summer. The longer vistas let me see the rise and fall of the terrain, too. Little hillocks or slight depressions are visible again. A tiny draw appears where the landscape appeared to be undifferentiated, and my eye can follow its length down the mountain.

Fungus that were there all the time are visible again, too, and looking for their interesting shapes and sizes is one thing I look forward to. Turkey tail fungus is the most prevalent here, though sometimes I suspect my poor identification skills either lets me see those more often or that I am misidentifying some as that when they are really something else that I haven’t learned about yet.

The night sky is visible again too, without having to leave the cover of the forest to see it. The stars peek through the skeletons of the sleeping oaks, and the lights from an occasional passing airplane tell me that I’m not really all that far from civilization after all.

I love the smell of the late autumn forest. It’s crisp and earthy in air that’s moister than the inside of my cabin. The scent seems almost spicy to my nose, but when I inhale deeply to try and identify it, the aroma skitters away and disappears. Each season has its own scent, and fall’s scent contains a little winter, a bit of summer and something of its own, all mixed together.

Raccoon raids are a nightly adventure. Last night one was thwarted by my empty bird feeders, but that didn’t stop it from nosing around looking for something. The prowling threw Baby Dog into a barking frenzy and that woke up Doodle, my rooster, who started to crow at 3 a.m. I was awakened and had to get up, turn on the outside light and prove to Baby Dog that the thief had gone. I could hear it scurrying away through the downed leaves. That’s one thing about November I could do without, though it will be December before the raccoon stops its nightly forays and stays closer to its den.


Scott said...

Kali was born in late November and...hates the month! The shorter days, the dreary gray skies, the cold temperatures, and the rain all conspire to bring her down.

This year, she doesn't have much to complain about though, does she? Temperatures have been relatively moderate and, in general, we've enjoyed pretty clear skies with almost no precipitation. So, this year, she can't get into a funk.

A friend of mine who was a naturalist always said that the distinctive earthy smell of November was (literally) "deer musk." Maybe there was some truth to her assertion, but I think she was just smelling the rich stew of wet soil and decomposing leaves. I love the scent, too, Carolyn.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: Ah, but November is a nice month, or so I think. Charming in its own way--vistas return, all sorts of things covered up by summer leaves reappear. October has the best press agent, of course, so I think November suffers by following that. Give me a November over a March or an August any day!