they’ve tiptoed back, those november skies, the ones that wrap me and cloak me in their charcoal-gray-with-tint-of-violet wonder.
i am safe inside the nubby folds of such a sky, when simmering smoky gray heavens sink low down to the earth, the place where i walk and trudge and hope and dream and too often feel the heartache.
i like it when the limbs go bare, when we see the bones again, when sky presses in on us. when we feel–or at least i do–less far away from what’s above.
it’s not that i’m so melancholy. not really, i’m not. it’s just that sky the color of eeyore, that somber donkey with the pinned-on tail, the one who walks the woods with pooh and dear, dear christopher robin, all through the enchanted pages of a.a. milne, it’s just that such a deep rich palette calls to me, whispers to the curled-up places in my heart, gives them kinship and room to unfurl.
i never know if it’s about to snow, on days when the deep dark gray comes in. i hold my breath and hope, though.
first snow is sacred. and the clouds, so full with something that their white is turned to sooty gray, they whisper promise. something’s coming.
or else it’s just plain a gray day. a day that beckons for a blanket and a cup of tea. it nudges. tap-taps at my shoulder: sit down. be still. soak in the oversotted sky.
it’s turning-in time.
all around the world is doing the same. the bulbs, i’ve tucked deep down into their sleeping places for the winter. the birds, mostly now, have skittered off, the ones for whom these chill winds are far too chilly. but all the stalwarts stayed behind, the squawking jay, the scarlet flash of cardinal, the sparrows and the hatches, they’re all here, loading up on seed, the seed i pour each morning at the feeder, in my unending bow to st. francis of the woodlands.
even the squirrels, i see, have packed thick wads of leaves way up high in nooks of branches. they’ve made chambers l.l. bean himself might envy, what with their storm-tested knack for blocking out the cold. and not a bad perch for chomping acorns either, blithely tossing out the not-so-chewy caps that rain on passersby.
my little one and i were walking to the bus just now, talking all about the sky (and dodging acorn caps that rained at quite a clip).
i asked him if he, too, liked a sky that wasn’t full of sun, that gave you reason and permission to wrap deep inside your thoughts.
well, first he looked up in that way that children do, to check to see if their mama’s sprung a leak, gone cuckoo. but then he let on that he too didn’t mind a dark-sky day, when the traffic jam of clouds hint that something might be in the works in the bring-on-the-weather department.
as we shuffled through the leaves, the curled-up golden maples that bring crunch and light aplenty to a gray november morn, i asked him what color he would pick to draw the sky today.
he looked up and answered, simply: “squirrel.”
i looked up too. and sure enough, i saw. the curds of cloud are gray and grayer, not unlike the furry famished rascals who aim to raid my feeders, who dig up my bulbs soon as i turn my back, who might walk right in and take a plate of dinner, were i to forget to slam the door.
and so it is, a squirrel-sky day.
a day when all of us might see fit to gather up a wad of golden leaves and curl down deep inside. and while we’re at it, toss out acorn caps to pelt the passersby.
if only i could climb a tree.
oh, goodness. dashing here today. a long day’s newspaper writing lies ahead. by now the sun’s peeked through and my gray day is all but blown over the lake. sunny days do have their golden-drenched virtue, but given a choice, i fear i’d take a gray november day any day. anyone else all for curling up and staring out the gray gray window?
After weeks of rain and gray I’ve been rejoicing in this gift of blue sky these last few days. The gray weighs on me–old desert lizard that I am, makes it hard to breathe; I must chide myself into cheerfulness. Sunshine feels like breath, ease, joy, thankfulness. These leaves–still overhead in abundance down here on the south side–practically irridescent yellow leaves–they glow even at night–and in the day, jammed up against that blue sky, the contrast is dizzying. I need sunglasses just for the leaves.
But a sky the color of Eeyore. Now this is a whole new thought. A squirrel-colored sky. How brilliant, how snuggly, how cozy. I’ll never look at a gray day the same again. Thanks, bam, and your little guy, thanks, as always.
Saturday, November 7, 2009 – 01:28 AM
Life here in the northern mountains of Arizona is a mixed bag this time of year … we either have the clear blue skies or the grayish type. As for me, I love me a gray day that gives a good excuse to cozy up to the fire with a good cup of blonde coffee or Chamomile tea and maybe an old movie on the tv (my personal favorite is Pillow Talk) … so long as it’s my day off.
bam … your little squirrel sky guy is simply brilliant … acorns don’t fall far from the mighty oak :o)
P.S. Hey jcv … miss you
Saturday, November 7, 2009 – 09:54 AM
Maybe if I had a fire to cozy up to it would be different…..As it is I just keep buying more lamps. PJV, I miss you too (heck, everyone here!) (pardon me for being more of a lurker for so many months….I lost my blogosphere nerve) and I miss your glorious AZ sky. I get to visit it soon for my niece’s wedding in Florence. Looking forward to blowing my kids’ minds with exuberant sun and curious desert.
Saturday, November 7, 2009 – 10:17 AM
jcv … send me a note to my e-mail addy and let me know when you’ll be coming to AZ for the wedding … maybe we can meet up somewhere!
Saturday, November 7, 2009 – 08:08 PM
….sliding back into the chair, remotely gone and back so soon! squirrel sky, of course! what a vision! i agree, the little acorn has not fallen far from his mighty mama oak.
take the little one aside for me, and pick up an acorn cap or two…now, fold the thumbs and using the knuckles like a reed, grasp the cap between the two small or bigger hands, while resting upside down cap against bottom lip, with a little window of air above the cap and below the upper lip-BLOW. best little whistle right fresh from mother nature…guaranteed to drive all the neighborhood dogs to howling. fun, fun.
i’ve reread what i just wrote and realized that’s a bit zany…i will try to provide a visual via a pic i’ll send to you chair lady if i can get out today and find said acorn cap.
i have found novermber’s sky to be “cold blue” when not “squirrel gray”…
though the sunsets seem akin to grandma’s crazy bold colored afghan, wrapping up the day in the warmth of a love made blanket.
so, yeah!!! i’m all for the wrapping up and looking out, gazing and grazing at the bare remnants november shyly displays….
oh my, the paths you lead me down, take care-
Sunday, November 8, 2009 – 08:13 AM
oh, you blessed trinity, here at the table, while i’ve been off at the typing desk, madly furiously, painfully trying to meet a monday morning deadline. thank god, thank god, it’s sunday night and deadline met. there are rare few times–but this was one of em–when i could not figure how i’d get the little engine over the big tall mountain. all i saw was a gulf of white page, with no idea how in the world i would begin to fill it with words. and there’s three of my world favorites over at the table, keepin things hummin, talkin sky, while i was scrapin barrel bottom.
oh the reunion is so sweet, my loves, when you return after your/our long absence from each other. oh, to have you back. i feel much better already…..love and love. to squirrels and sky and afghan sunsets. okay, how crazy is that? i am stuck on the spelling there. it cannot be the same as the country. i know it can’t be. oh well then, afghan sunsets. whereever they are, whatever they are, cozy-quilted sunsets. blessed you, you get to witness. i can’t see but the top wisps of setting light through the tops of trees. i have houses, stuff, in the way. i don’t live in sunset land…..
Sunday, November 8, 2009 – 08:27 PM
Nothing gets me thinking about the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and all its layers of memories, like a gray November day. And I see, Barbara, that yours was a Friday. When I was in grade school, that was the best kind of gray November day, especially if we had our weekly library period then. I would sit at a long, heavy oak table, in an adult-sized straight-backed oak chair, and gaze out the wide banks of tall arched windows (so tall that teachers had to use long hooked poles to open and close them in summer) in that third-floor northwest corner of the school and watch the scudding clouds. From that lofty but cozy eyrie, I could look out over the neighborhood of low-slung bungalows, through the bare trees, and then plunge into the books I’d take home for a weekend of reading. (Library was never as good if, as it was some school years, it was scheduled on a Monday or Tuesday, with all those nights of homework to get through before the weekend escape.) The love of gray November skies has stayed with me, along with an appreciation for lovely old Henry D. Lloyd School, built in 1905 and kept relatively unchanged through the 1960s, and the architecture that allowed children to look inward and outward in that library room.
P.S. Congratulations on your award from Chicago Audubon Society!
Monday, November 9, 2009 – 05:33 PM
Maybe little guy can sell his color idea to Crayola, and to the drawing programs for the computer: Squirrel Grey
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 – 06:48 PM
karen, lovely description of your school and the tall arched windows, and the little girl who loved to read…..so good to know this table is filled with such rich company. i picture all of us, curled up in our nooks, absorbed and turning pages, not needing to say a word as we absorb the poetry we find on pages…..especially on november days when the sky is squirrel gray…..
(and thank you too, by the way…)
carol, we will need to check and see if crayola already has such a color.
Friday, November 13, 2009 – 04:14 PM
One of my most treasured memories of my mother is from a couple of years back. There was a blizzard and the radio was warning people to buckle down and hibernate. I called my mom to see if she needed anything. from the store. Her response was that she had in Dots and gumdrops and would be fine.
Sunday, November 15, 2009 – 09:30 PM