The morning sun sparks pale gold in a pewter sky, shining through the spruce grove where I am standing and shivering. There is hoarfrost on the trees over my head, a thin skim of glassy ice on the puddle in front of my wandering feet. Sunlight claims the ice crystals on the surface, making them twinkle and glitter and flash by turns. The chancy meeting of the elements forges a fine clear abstract painting, but everything else is muted and hazy this morning. The damp cold goes right through to the bones.
November finds a northern dweller perched like an indomitable bird, perhaps a nuthatch, between Samhain (or Halloween) and the frantic scurryings of Yuletide. Migratory birds are long gone for the most part, although a few geese remain in the fields and will be here for some time yet. The landscape is a pallid sepia study carpeted with crunchy field grasses and crowned from here to there with skeletal whiskery trees..
An excoriating north wind roars across the hills and whips through the hollows, scouring the earth, driving fallen leaves, pebbles and twigs before it. Rocks at the bottom of the gorge are lashed with torrents of water a few degrees above freezing, the granite lavishly coated, shiny and sporting the season's first slick shards of lacy ice. Winter weather is raw and wild, and it's exhilarating "stuff" when one is in the right frame of mind and wearing the right gear for rambling about.
Here we go again, another long white season in which the artist dresses up in every warm garment she possesses, slings a camera around her neck, fills her pockets with peripheral devices and notebooks, then goes off to plumb the mysteries of winter. She can do this, and really, she is looking forward to it, at least for now. When she returns home later, she will regretfully move autumn's vibrant images from her computer onto an archival DVD, and she will create a new folder called "Winter".