Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Consolations of November

When chill November’s surly blast
Made fields and forests bare.

Robert Burns, "Man was made to Mourn."

Around here, it is basically agreed that November pretty much sucks. Well, the hunters, and they are legion, would disagree but I don't hang out with them, unless you count my brother, who spends more than I earn in a year on hunting this-that-and the-other around the world but, never mind about him. I am here today to talk about November. Stay on task, Woolfoot! Surly blasts, bare forests and fields, Vermont is, apparently, a lot like Scotland in November as per Bobby Burns.

The two biggest industries in our state are tourism and dairy farming, not necessarily in that order. November sucks (there's that word again) for both of them. The cows are still in the fields when the days are sunny, as it was today, but soon Bossy and Betty will be shooed into the barn for the duration. The tourists also disappear: leaf season is over and ski season has not yet begun. These weeks are known by hotel keepers as "stick season" and not many people will drive from New York or Boston and pay good money to see the sticks of Vermont. Also, we have just turned the clocks back and are now plunged into darkness just after lunch, or so it seems. So, around here, November is the red-headed step child of the calendar (about as popular as his scouring and soggy, red-chapped hands sister, March).

But - you knew this was coming - November has its bright spots. Happily, today was one of them. The light was thin, but it broke through whispy clouds and gave the day a special light, a kind of atmospheric Mona Lisa smile.

Also, as you can see from the "before" (summer)

and "after" (today)

pictures of the Corn Maze just off the Stowe Rec. Path, that Maze is waaaaay easier (and cheaper) now than it was in August. I defy anyone to get lost out there. And the farmer is no longer demanding $6.00 per head to give it a whirl.