November Palette at 50° N

November Notes – Day 7

The sun has risen. It is a blob of dirty yellow pigment, smeared by a giant Van Gogh thumb, obscured by the low grey cloud bank to the east. As a result, the early light is only that which is reflected by the clear blue dome above. This morning light is strangely weak with no shadows and no glare. Nature appears soft – a watercolour on cottony cold-pressed paper.

A chickadee and a squirrel natter at each other like old men in a cafe. Only half-interested; they have had this argument before.

It is fully Fall now, despite the unseasonable warmth. Greys and rocky taupes dominate the register. Yellow poplar leaves, the Romans of just two weeks ago, lie in ruin, piled into hollows and crevices. Their bright yellows and matchstick oranges are gone, rotting wetly into silent umbers, ochres and noble browns.

Only the brave tamaracks stand at attention, brandishing their saffron flag to the last.

Green is not going without a fight. The conifer needles and hardy understory plants still ply their verdant trade, lighting sections of the boreal with a lively glow. The massive rocks of the Shield are no longer hidden and they unfurl their attire: deep green mosses and the bizarre chartreuse of the indestructible lichens.

The raucous ferns, so green and flowing in the summer are now dark and rusted, flooding the forest floor in a leafy dulce de leche.

The pale jaune clair of the reeds rises up out of the lake water. Their faint hue belies their hard nature – they will stand, rustling as if in secret conversation, unhurt by the ice through the iron of winter.

In the ditches beside the black asphalt road, the woods have applied a splash of winter make-up. It is the deep maroon of the willow whips that stand in profusion, naked of leaves, darkly crimson and waving seductively in the breeze off the nearby open water.

Mourners at a graveside, the silver birch stand vigilant and in brilliant white contrast to the forest around them that pulls a dusky blanket over its shoulders and prepares for slumber.

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For #NovemberNotes: November 7 – “Yellow” by Coldplay (Or it could be Nov 22 – “Free Fallin'” by John Mayer.) https://thesarahdoughty.wordpress.com/tag/novembernotes/

Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2016

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