November in My Soul

November 8, 2014

“It is a damp, drizzly November in my soul.”
— Ishmael at the beginning of Moby Dick by Herman Melville


Wet pavement, between showers

Wet pavement, between showers

November on Greenwood Ave N

November on Greenwood Ave N

Soggy leaves

Soggy leaves

Between showers

Between showers




Cloudy morning, Skagit Valley

Cloudy morning, Skagit Valley



November Again Again
by David Budbill, from While We’ve Still Got Feet:  New Poems

Gray, damp, sere, chill,
bare November days
here again this year.

Day after day
clouds down
around our ankles.

The quiet, meditative
beauty of these
muffled days.

Withdraw, return,
pull in,
to somewhere

both house
and life.


Fallen Japanese maple leaf on hydrangea flowers

“Now the last leaves are down, except for the thick, dark leaves of the oak and ghostly beech leaves that click in the breeze, and we’re reduced to a subtler show of color — brown, gray, and buff, perhaps a little purple in the distance, and the black-green of moss, hemlock, and fir.  To my eyes these hues are more beautiful than the garish early autumn with its orange leaves — orange, the color of madness — and leaves the color of blood.  Let hot life retire, grow still:  November’s colors are those of the soul.”
— Jane Kenyon, “Season of Change and Loss”

“As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint, just before they fall, so the year near its setting.  October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.”
— Henry David Thoreau, “October, or Autumnal Tints”

These photos show the late November color palette in the Pacific Northwest:

Tree-lined driveway at Maplehurst Farm, Skagit Valley

Rose hips

Stewartia pseudocamellia fruit

Stewartia pseudocamillia

Another fallen Japanese maple leaf on hydrangea plant

Fallen Japanese maple leaves on Atlas cedar trunk

Watercolor sketch of oak and maple leaves


“November always seemed to me the Norway of the Year.”
— Emily Dickinson

Frosty leaves in the gutter

Icy raindrops on these frosty leaves look like peas in a pod

“November is Autumn’s burial . . .”
— Donald Hall, Seasons at Eagle Pond

“Winter starts in November, whatever the calendar says, with gray of granite, with russet and brown of used leaves.”
— Donald Hall, Seasons at Eagle Pond

It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s gray and brown.  Yes, it certainly feels like mid-Winter already, though it’s not even December yet.


November 15, 2011

Looking down the street where I live

by Thomas Hood

No sun–no moon!
No morn–no noon!
No dawn–no dusk–no proper time of day–
No sky–no earthly view–
No distance looking blue–
No road–no street–no “t’other side this way”–
No end to any Row–
No indications where the Crescents go–
No top to any steeple–
No recognitions of familiar people–
No courtesies for showing ’em–
No knowing ’em!
No traveling at all–no locomotion–
No inkling of the way–no notion–
“No go” by land or ocean–
No mail–no post–
No news from any foreign coast–
No Park, no Ring, no afternoon gentility–
No company–no nobility–
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member–
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds–

November Gardens

November 16, 2010

Purple and greens on this late-season hydrangea

Subtle colors, dying blooms

Hydrangea faintly tinged in purple

I am enjoying the subtle color combinations in my neighbors’ gardens, especially these late-season hydrangea blooms.

Earth Sinks to Rest

November 6, 2010

Red berries in seasonal decoration, viewed through screen door


“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”
     — Elizabeth Coatsworth

Red and Sear

November 5, 2010

“November’s sky is chill and drear,
November’s leaf is red and sear.”
     — Sir Walter Scott

Red maple leaf

Watercolor sketch of red leaf