November 2021 - A Morning Walk
The landscape sleeps in mist from morn till noon;
- John Clare, A Shepherd's Calendar: November
The morning mist is frosty. The dried seed heads of the iron weed are encased in a feathery shroud of white, and they glitter in the early morning light. The air is cold and bright, and all the world seems awake and gleeful and scattered with twinkling dust. I'm in somewhat unfamiliar woods, I've walked them before but I don't know them like my woods at home, so there's an air of discovery around every turn: a little bridge to span a marshy patch of trail, a bramble of wild roses covered in hips, a little grove of cattails. They all come as a surprise, little gifts of wonder on this most stunning of frosty mornings.
A mocking bird is trying to balance herself on a swaying wild hydrangea, the beautiful dried flower head is tossing even in this gentle breeze, yet she is holding her seat gracefully. Her long grey tail flicks this way and that as the branch moves, the only sign that she is having to exert any energy at all to keep her delicate perch.
The frost flowers have bloomed in abundance this morning. The delicate tendrils and ribbons that cling to the dead stalks are utterly marvelous, and every one unique. I wonder what it would be like to watch them form, to see that thinnest, most delicate layer of frost twist and curl out from the stalk and create these magical little clusters of ribbon-like ice.
November has always seemed to me the Norway of the year.
I love how the frost makes everything sparkle, yet at the same time hides things, just a bit, from clear sight. It softens the edges of the dried grasses, and accentuates the broad veins of the fallen leaves, and harmonizes in such a bright yet gentle way all the colors of the landscape. But there are some colors it cannot soften, for here, lurking patiently beneath a twining profusion of grey-green, frost-embroidered leaves, is a spark of red. A brilliant, red, still-blooming honeysuckle, it seems a reminder that summer has only just fallen asleep. This ice-encased flower must be one of the most beautiful discoveries at this misty morning thoughtful spot.
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