Sliding through November
We were sliding through November quite nicely, thank you - until today.
The month seemed to have discarded its surliness, its lowering clouds and its melancholy darkness. Some days have been absolutely brilliant, and although the trees have taken on their stark winter beauty in many places there was still an autumn glow in the valley when the sun shone.
Today we woke to dark clouds and a bitter wind that has grown wilder with each hour that passes.
This afternoon Charles drew my attention to patches of sunshine in the Cawston Basin, with no break in the clouds to explain their presence,....a mystery we eventually solved by following the lights on the clouds to the south. Rays from the setting sun were slipping along the back of K Mountain and lighting up the Cawston hills and Orofino Mountain.
We can expect the wind to continue until late tomorrow afternoon, and I guess November is just reminding us that the lovely weather of the first two weeks was just a flirty attempt to pull the wool over our eyes...
We have a spat of birthdays to finish off the month in a celebratory mood.
The intimations of winter did cause visions of sugar plums and other Christmas delights. I have illusions about what I am able to bake this year. I know these illusions are only temporary, and eventually I will settle on a simpler version of Christmas as it was in the kitchen in days gone by.
However, I have already stocked up on butter for shortbreads (some things are essential) and soon I will buy fruit and nuts and cream cheese and lemons for tarts. I am beset with plans and questions....
Who will clean the silver in lieu of busy grandchildren?
Who will put up the lights in the garden?
Will we have a small Christmas tree in a cheery red pail?
Or will we bring out all the old and treasured ornaments and find a spot for a larger greenery?
Perhaps we could hang them on garlands around doorways and high, along hallways (large room here for disillusionment).
I glance up at the garden, where the wind blows fiercely and ponder.
Shall I leave the dead stalks for protection during the winter? Or shall I snip them off in this bitter wind and then find protection for the garden elsewhere?
Well, that's an easy decision to make if you don't let your mind wander to March and the winds that sweep the valley in early spring, rustling through the old stalks while the eager bulbs push their way through the great disorder.
Decisions, decisions, decisions, - but lovely ones where Christmas is concerned.
I am off to dig out the Christmas CD's - Pavarotti's old original 'O Holy Night', and the newer music of Ill Divo. My sister tells me of lovely new seasonal recordings by the Canadian Tenors and Andre Botticelli. I look forward to hearing once again Boney M's 'Daughters of Zion' and all the haunting Ave Marias.
Let the wind blow as it may..... sugar plums are not confined to the land of the young...