A couple of days ago we had what the forecasts call a “wintry mix,” which always sounds to me like something you’d set out in bowls at a cocktail party this time of year. It was, in fact, rain, snow and sleet mixed with sand and salt and the sludge that gets thrown from the treads of tires. One minute snow was falling in clumps, and the next it was raining. The sky was the color of duct tape, and it let about that much light through. What a “wintry mix” does is make you want to stay home — or perhaps go into the world foraging for provisions simply for the pleasure of getting home again.
This is true November weather, in which I learn to admire the stoicism of the animals all over again. Stoicism is the wrong word, if only because it implies an awareness of being stoic. They stand over their hay in the wintry mix, and they seem to take it as it comes. I imagine them thinking, “No flies!,” as a way of enjoying this grim weather.
It’s the difference that makes a day like that so interesting. Till now, this has been a bright oaken autumn. The most vivid colors came and went, leaving behind the oaks, which hold their leaves far longer. The last few weeks have been dusted with a dry, wooden light, and the oaks have shown just how various and pungent their colors can be. It was as if the oaks had all stepped forward to remind us of a spectrum of color that goes unimagined in most years.
The NYTimes, the newspaper I love to slam, has an editorialist with the odd name of Verlyn. Fortunately, his last name is more euphonious, Klinkenborg.
Think of the odds of being a great writer and carrying that name around.
Klinkenborg lives in rural New York and writes about it, with elegance and a phrasing akin to music.
If you have never read him, I humbly suggest you give it a try.