Don’t think I’ll ever want to go south for the winter. I’m a New Englander. As such, I savor the smell of each new season. Though I’ve experienced sixty of each, I love the feel - the changing light, the scents wafting on the breeze. I love the crunch of new snow underfoot, and when I feel it for the first time each winter, memories of all the similar sensations from previous years come right back, and I feel that this is where I belong.Smart's Hill in November
Late November sun illuminates but doesn’t warm much. There just isn’t as enough of it. What there is doesn’t last as long and seems more precious as a result. In July we take it for granted, but not during these short days. We who live in the woods become more aware of sun at this time because leaves have dropped from most of the hardwoods except for oaks and beeches. Its angle in the sky is lower too so it illuminates the exposed bone structure of those hardwoods. After the brilliant color of October’s foliage, we see hardwoods as grayish frames. Smooth bark on upper branches shows light gray against darker gray shadows. On a distant hillside, a thousand skeletal treetops mesh into soft grays interspersed with dark greens of pine groves.
Animals and plants know to prepare for winter when late fall is evident all around. Some humans know too but others remain unaware of the changing season - insulated from nature in buildings, their sense of the world filtered through television or computer screens they stare at all day. They don’t hear wind rattle branches, only sounds produced in studios - electronically filtered through magnetized speakers. No smells come with electronic sights and sounds - no feelings either except for whatever has been stored away from past experiences.Kezar Lake looking north from Pleasant Point in November
November has been warm and peaceful around here this year. For three consecutive days, Kezar Lake was so smooth and tranquil that just being around it was calming. Water mirrored sky and shore more perfectly than I’ve never seen, and so quietly the sound of my camera’s shutter seemed to echo.Looking northeast toward Quisisana
November also brings Thanksgiving. To Whom do we give thanks? When I was teaching, I’d ask students that question and most of them would say it was “Indians.”
“Where did you learn that?” I’d ask.
“In school,” they’d answer. That’s because God is persona non grata in public schools and has been so for decades. American history is being distorted to push God out - with consequences beyond historical ignorance. But that’s for another column.
Thanksgiving is a time for Americans foster an attitude of gratitude, focusing on what we have rather than what we’d like to have.That’s a good thing, especially in these challenging economic times. We’re more likely to be thankful for simple things like a warm home, a job, good health and the presence of loved ones.For all this, I'm thankful
That’s especially true in my family this year, it being only a few weeks since “little” brother Paul was diagnosed with stage-four throat cancer. He begins chemotherapy as I write. Family and community are pulling together to support Paul and his family of wife and seven children. He’s self-employed in the plumbing and heating business and we often talk early mornings since he does all that work on the properties I manage. He’s a big, jolly guy always quick with a joke. He told me he’s going to be “Chemo-Boy” this winter and I said “How about we call you “Kemo-sabe”?Paul with daughter, Aimee
He laughed, though his throat was sore after removal of a cancerous tonsil. Radiation follows chemotherapy and laughing will be more painful - but if I know Paul, that won’t stop him. He’ll laugh through his eyes.
A benefit supper for him and his family will be held at the Lovell Fire House - intersection of Hatch’s Hill Road and Main Street in Lovell Saturday, December 3rd from 4:00-7:00 pm. Spaghetti - with and without meat - rolls, dessert for $8.00 per person.