nature writing part 8 (months)
Posted February 16th, 2018 by Swallowtail
in new york/massachusetts
November is all dark and close, everything somehow both a muted version of itself and something more. November is droplets of freezing rain hanging suspended on every branch, every faded blade of grass, curving downward and reflecting the world. It is creeping frost and crumpled yellow berries that would be unremarkable among the brilliant hues of October, but now stand proud and unearthly against a thousand dark branches. November is the rich scent of burning leaves, the mournful calls of geese, the trees returning their colors to the dirt. It is looking closely at tangles of branches and dead flowerstalks, and instead of seeing only brown, finding deep blue and purple shadows, red glosses, delicate yellow tinges, faint washes of pink. November is clinging dampness, thick sweaters, and blue evenings when the world blends together. It is quiet wonder at seeing your breath, the fierce joy of the first snow, and the simple peace of watching wood smoke curl up and dissipate into the low sky. November is bleak and beautiful and not a month for dying, but instead, a month for transforming.
Morning rises softly, gray spreading out into the sky from a pale yellow horizon. Inside, all is quiet, so quiet I have become aware of the thump of my heart and the rush of air through my lungs. My window has little specks of condensation on the inside, water droplets sticking to the glass until they become too full, then slipping down to glossy white paint. Outside, there is nothing but light, swirling gray. Mist has twined itself through the grass and the trees and filled the world, holding us under a rapidly unraveling blanket. If I look straight across, I can make out the heavy shadows of huge pines. Usually dark and spiky, the mist has softly rubbed out the edges and washed over them until they are only recognizable because I know they are there. If I press myself up against the cool window and look down, I can see the soft yellow walls of the building and below, faded green. Cars are hulking shapes sitting low to the ground, the old lab just the lines of a roof. I leave quietly, the sound of the door creaking louder than it should be.
Outside, silence presses heavily on everything, the sighing of the pines the only sound I can hear. Looking straight ahead, I can see the air moving, spinning around itself, rolling across the sky, and clinging to the earth. The ground is gray as well but shining with the dampness of the morning, dark flagstones stretching to a low wall. Beyond that, there is just the sky. While I know that there are mountains looming beyond, on this morning, the world ends at the wall.
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