Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November is one of my least favourite months. In Canada, there is nothing special about the eleventh month on the calendar, whose birth stone is Topaz and whose signature flower is the chrysanthemum. There is no Thanksgiving for us this month. (We celebrate that holiday in October.) The only real special day in November for Canadians is Remembrance Day on November 11th, which is to honour Canada's war dead.

It's cold. It's damp. The coloured leaves have fallen and now slowly turn to mucky brown piles around town, like a dirty carpet waiting for the clean snow. We all shuffle around in mourning under gray skies and drizzle remembering men and women who have died in war. Sigh. It's not exactly a month filled with cheer.

As a kid, I always hated November. I wanted to "fast-forward" it to the spot on the calendar I enjoyed most: December! December means Christmas (and all the fun leading up to it), my birthday two days after Christmas and New Year's Eve, two days after my birthday! It's all so blissful. There is just the sad matter of November to get through...

So, in order to make myself less jaded about this month, I decided to force myself to enjoy at least one day. I was determined to find beauty. A day at the cottage was just the thing. So, come and take a walk with me through some of my usual hiking trails up at Sunday Lake and let me know if these November snapshots make the month any more alluring. I hope so! They do for me.

This little vignette of twisted drift wood and rock by the water was full of texture and vitality.

The leaves on the trees have now left a carpet on the ground, but there is something majestic and elegant about the bare, outstretched branches of the trees.

The signs of decay are bittersweet also. This old, decaying birch tree has obviously been home to all kinds of little forest creatures. Everything has a cycle.

On my walk I came upon a beautiful marsh. When the wind blew there was only the sound of the hissing marsh grasses and the subtle clatter of the bare branches above my head.

This tree had a section of its trunk that reminded me of a face. Notice the eye, the eyebrow arch and the side of the nose.

Because it is hunting season here, I bedecked Molly with all kinds of little fluorescent ribbons, just in case a wayward hunter mistook her for a small bear. And believe me, given her size, that would not be an outrageous assumption. I think she looks quite festive!

I spotted this beautiful butterfly sunning itself on a tree trunk. The temperatures today were in the high 60's and there were all kinds of little insects around.

A beautiful, majestic pine tree reaching to the blue sky. It must have been at least 100 feet tall.
The moss on the damp forest floor is still luminescently green and soft. There are still little ferns clinging to life and add a lush counterpoint to all the brown, gray and yellow around.
A milkweed looks completely painterly, with one little seed pod desperately waiting for a gust of wind to carry it away.

A fallen hemlock had turned a reddish-brown, which looked like an amber/caramel in the sunlight.
And speaking of sunlight, it gave us a glorious sky as it left us for the day, at around 4:45 pm.

PS: A big congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama! The world has sighed a giant sigh of relief today. Like 70% of all Canadians, and 3/4 of all nations around the world that were surveyed, I am thrilled with the results this morning.

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