Toward the Solstice
by Mark Perlberg
We burned our leaves on the bluest October day,the sun still warm on our backs,
frost just a ghost in the shrubbery.
We raked the leaves into shifting piles on the lawn,
scooped them into deep round baskets
and spilled them in the street against the curb.
The vein of fire, unseen at first in diamond light,
whispered through oak leaves brown as butcher paper,
and maple still flushed with color like maps
torn from The Book of Knowledge.
We were letting go of October, relinquishing color,
readying ourselves for streets lacquered with ice,
the town closed like a walnut, locked inside the cold.
So farewell then to October, past and present, and onward to more subtle but lovely November.Since I was born in November, my memories of THAT month are keen as well.I used to fell gypped that I had that birth month so stark and so windy and tinged with the smell of coming snow.SO quiet with the song birds gone. Smells of nature gone cold.Days tinged just slightly with the smell and promise of the holidays to come AND often filled with exams and tests at school. A turning inward slightly due to the weather pattern and the shortness of days. Warm scarves again and soft sweaters. In southern WI the corn fields left to be harvest rattle in the wind, deer hunting started, we would awake sometimes to dustings of snow in the old corn rows or frost to be scraped from a car window. As I grew older I began to see a certain stark beauty of the gold against the grayness. Old weed pods and spent cat tails in the marsh making shadow patterns against bare trunk. But it took a long time to notice the beauty. I think it is the same with old age. It takes awhile to appreciate it…you rail against it, as you rail against November, until you see that it's part of the whole picture and just as the colors of gray are needed in a painting allowing you see the other colors fully, November comes to offer up kind of foil against which you can lean the beauty of the other seasons. Beautiful in it's own subtle ways. And then toward the month's end, a gathering of the clans to celebrate the harvest and food and football.November is a lovely month in central FL…foggy mornings give way to 85 degree afternoons. Perfect for whatever you want to do. The "Golden Rain Trees" blossom in Oct and Nov and are filled with rusty orange blossoms reminding one of changing leaves in WI but actually are flowers! Beautiful to see. Our hibiscus in bright pink in the afternoon sunshine.