Monday was the day Trevor and I celebrated 11-years together, following our 7th wedding anniversary on Sunday. It’s a very special day, and so I decided to take the weekend off writing and creativity to simply spend time with my husband. Not that I feel I need to justify my missed post on Monday, but I wanted to share the good news with you all! More good news needs to be shared online. We had a lot of fun this weekend, but my favorite thing was going to a small Asian diner we’d found in the nearest city. The two of us absolutely love Asian-style food, but hadn’t had it out in a while. It was a nice treat.

Driving around and being out all weekend, it was rather obvious November had come to play. The fog-covered mornings of October are all but gone. The mist, rather than veiling the majority of the valley below the mountain I live on, now only lingers above the nearby river as the sun rises over the ridge. So, instead of being greeted by a wall of mist every morning, I can now see the sunrise through the trees. Uninterrupted, bright and clear, it radiates with a warm light onto the chilled morning, causing the frosted grass to seem to glitter.

I have a neighbor that lives above me, who likes to toss food off her balcony for the animals to eat. Every morning, small black birds are there in the grass, eating crumbs left by the deer and raccoons. At least they seem black. When the sunlight dances on their wings, hidden hues are revealed. The small birds reflect patterns of a deep green and yellow, with traces of a deep blue. Perhaps the colors are all too dark that in the daylight they blend together to make a rich black, but in the direct morning sunlight, they are amazingly detailed little things.

Mourning doves also come to hang around our windows, which are much larger than the small seemingly-black birds. Our cats love to watch them. They crouch low to the carpet, or the window sills, and their tails swish back and forth. The three of them sit and watch for as long as the doves and birds are feeding. Almost always they fall asleep afterwards, in their stalking locations, chins resting on the floor.

The temperature dropped 30-degrees (Fahrenheit) on the first day of the month. November brings with it a chilled wind from the north. You can smell the icy arctic in the mornings, a whispered promise of the winter to come. It’s fresh and rejuvenating, like it breathes new life into my bones each morning.

The weather for Thursday called for snow. Though what we were mostly delivered was rain, we awoke Friday to a dusting of snow that cling to the grass and mulch until the sun rose. Tuesday the weather calls for snow again, and I’m very hopeful we’ll have our first snow sooner rather than later. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts this impending winter will be warmer and longer than usual, but last into the first days of Spring where I live. We should have more icy conditions than snow, which is fairly typical where I live, but I’ll hold onto hope.

Already the majority of the trees have shed their leaves for insulation through the cold months, revealing the skeleton that hides beneath in spring and summer. In the sea of empty branches, colored foliage dots the landscape, still clinging as best it can. Some leaves may linger well into December and turn to brown. I love to see trees this way, the honest and architectural shape of their branches are so appealing and inspiring for me.

I still open the door in the mornings for at least 30-minutes, to welcome in the sunshine and the fresh air. The cats still happily wait there to bathe in the sunlight. They breathe deeply in and out of their noses that I can see their warm breath as it passes through the screen and goes into the world. When I go to sit with them they greet me with small chirps of happiness; they must love that time of day, and our little routine, as much as I do.

As we get closer to winter at the end of the month, the air will have a bite to it, even in the middle of the day; you’ll be able to smell that winter is soon coming. The moon and stars will shine brighter in the night. Soon there won’t be much of anything left to dampen the sounds of the valley. Bird calls will echo and we’ll be able to clearly hear the train that passes on the other side of the river.

The more I write about the changes this area will go through over the next month, the more I realize I simply love this time. I feel such a sense of peace as the days begin to decrease in length, and the darkness of winter begins to creep in. November is my favorite time of year.

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