For me, the year’s four seasons are Spring, Summer, Fall, and I-Hate-Winter. This winter-averse attitude poses a problem even now, in November, because November means winter is just around the corner. To avoid depression, I resolved a few years ago to play a seasonal adjustment game by looking for good things about fall and winter.
My favorite trees, the beeches, now look totally made of precious metal, with their golden leaves and silvery trunks. The young ones will keep their leaves during the winter, giving the wind some toast-colored playthings.
Here’s another good thing: the transient glory of our red maple. It is admittedly losing its chlorophyll and will soon be losing its leaves, but oh, it is beautiful now against the clear bright blue of the sky.
Another good thing that lasts longer is the samaras, or winged seeds, of the box elders. These maple-family trees are somewhat ungainly; they sprout suckers everywhere, branch awkwardly, and have little dignity. But when the leaves are gone and the pale fruits hang in their duos, the trees have a ghostly presence that seems to glow.
Many people would say the best part of November is Thanksgiving, We celebrate the goodness of our lives and the bounty of the harvest with a feast. It’s the one day a year, as Art Buchwald used to say, when all Americans eat as well as the French do every day. A major contributor to the feast is this guy and his kin. Meet Jethro, a handsome dude whose photo I took to accompany an article in Maryland Magazine many years ago.