The gales of November.

In 1991, Alan and I went backpacking for 10 days on Isle Royale. We went “into” the country, as they say, and when we came out and picked up a paper it seemed the world had gone mad — there had been a coup in the Soviet Union, blacks and Jews were rioting in Crown Heights and a tree had nearly destroyed our friends’ house in Atlanta.

You know those great Atlanta neighborhoods with enormous towering oak trees? John and Sammy had one of those in their yard, a mighty white oak maybe a century old. A storm blew through, there was a big crash and John came out of his office and Sammy came out of the kitchen and they looked at one another over the trunk of the tree, which had thoughtfully come in almost exactly through the front door.

They made Page One of the Journal-Constitution.

The house was well-nigh totaled, but they elected to rebuild and add on at the same time, and now they have a beautiful house again, but Sammy tells me she no longer sleeps when the wind comes up, and neither do I. When the wind came up before dawn today, it had a note of fury in it, and when I finally got up I wasn’t surprised to hear there were tornados in southern Indiana about the same time. Lots of people dead, too.

Damn, it’s windy out. Blowing steady around 30, gusting to 40, says the weather buoy out in Lake St. Clair. I believe it.

When it gets like this at night I want to do one thing: Crawl into bed with Kate and/or pick her up and take her into ours. In this house, as in the last one, her bedroom is closest to the big tree on the front lawn. At least we’d die together, I figure.

The fall color took a big hit; at times this afternoon, it’s looked like it’s snowing leaves. I’m glad I got out and about in it these last few days, because it was spectacular. I’m not one for rhapsodizing over fall color. It’s like rhapsodizing over fireworks — ooh, that one’s pretty…ooooh, that’s the best ever. (A newspaper colleague of mine used to wonder, quite reasonably, why we bothered to send photographers to fireworks displays. We could recycle the previous year’s shots and not get a single phone call, he contended. In fact, we could probably rotate five or so fireworks pictures indefinitely. I think he was right.)

But the color this year was spectacular. Since this is my first autumn here I don’t know if this is just a great place for color or a great year for it. One newspaper perennial in September is to call up an extension agent and ask how the color will be. I always forget the combination of variables that promotes the most vivid color — wet spring/dry summer/early frost? Dry spring/hot summer/late-arriving rains? — but when it comes, I’m rarely disappointed by fall color. Some of the trees here are cherry-red, and there’s something about seeing that against a gray fall sky that’s just thrilling.

Oooh, that’s a pretty one….ooh, best ever. And so on.

One final note: The thing that makes the current gale — still going on — so strange is now warm it is. It’s coming straight out of the southwest, and the temperature’s in the 50s. We still haven’t had a frost yet, very unusual for this latitude. (But global warming is junk science, doncha know.)

You know what some people in the neighborhood are doing as I write this? Raking leaves. Maybe later they’ll all stand in a line facing into the wind and urinate into it. Both would be about as effective.

OK, then.

Just one bit of bloggage today: This. I don’t normally like blind links, but anything I could say about this one might wreck the kwazy surprise.

Posted at 4:10 pm in Uncategorized |

5 responses to “The gales of November.”

  1. brian stouder said on November 6, 2005 at 9:51 pm

    Clearly, Paris is much more disciplined than one would have guessed!

    btw – regarding our blustery day and “global warming”, and for the record –

    this winter when it’s 17 degress below zero Fahrenheit and some loudmouth (present company excluded, of course!) says “Global warming, my ass!” – no fair lecturing that person about the difference between “climate” and “weather”

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  2. mary said on November 7, 2005 at 12:39 am

    My son’s female friends in high school all think Paris looks like the daughter of Mr. Burns on The Simpsons. Of course, they are not the types to be Paris admirers. His female friends all seem to be in the environmental awareness club and have names like Acacia. Actually, his current girlfriend is named Acacia, a word I always think of as an ingredient in Ricola. Younger son, not yet interested in females, refers to her as Atrocia.

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  3. deb said on November 7, 2005 at 8:01 pm

    screw paris, let’s talk about the weather. fall in milwaukee was glorious too — much longer-lasting and more colorful than usual. the leaves on the red maple in our front yard usually just turn a manky brown. this year they’re a symphony of rich burgundies and sunny russets and shimmering chocolates, as if they were designed to synch with the colors from those commercials for john frieda’s “brilliant brunette” line.

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  4. Dorothy said on November 7, 2005 at 9:02 pm

    We just returned from a long weekend trip to Pittsburgh for a wedding. What a spectacular weekend to see the fall colors all up and down the East Coast! North and South Carolina are not as advanced as Virginia and Pennsylvania were, but it was a splendiferous view going and coming. The wind was ferocious and it did indeed “snow” leaves on Saturday. But the colors were great and I’m so glad the showy-ness was delayed this year!

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  5. Crackhead said on November 17, 2005 at 10:49 am

    Nature sucks.

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