We shouldn’t have been surprised because it happens every year, pretty much at the same time. Middle of November, after a long period of rather warm weather, one day the temperature drops and suddenly, you feel that first bite of winter.


I remember one year, more than 20 years ago, it was November 18th. Garry and I had gone in short sleeves and no jackets to a local dive for lunch. We were living on Beacon Hill and given the perils of alternate side of the street parking, we had walked the mile.


We were there about two hours. It had been around 70 degrees when we arrived at the Bulfinch. When we emerged, the temperature was about 40 degrees and the wind was whipping around the tall building. We ran home, not stopping until the door was closed firmly behind us.


This morning, when we got up, it was warm. Not 70, but mid sixties. Overcast and a bit blowy. When a few hours later we left to drive to Milford to pick up some antibiotics for Bishop, it was still warm. I noticed it was a bit chilly when we arrived at the veterinary office at 12:30. Less than an hour later, we stopped at the grocery store. It was cold. Not cooler. Cold. Maybe 50 degrees with a brisk breeze snapping the naked trees. The sky was bright blue with a few high cirrus clouds.


The cold had come. Other shoppers were hugging themselves, still dressed in short sleeves, unprepared for the precipitous temperature drop. We had jackets on, but it was definitely time for the next level of outerwear.

Trees are bare. A few die-hard shrubs are hanging on to their leaves, but otherwise, it’s the tail-end of autumn when the world pauses, catching its breath. Feeling the first chill fingers of winter.


A good time for the casting of sharp shadows across roads and parking lots. A good time to lay in supplies for the season to come.


Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 11

Last month was full-bore autumn. Bright trees. Yellow, orange, scarlet, bronze. And yet … and yet …


For the past few days, the leaves have been coming off the trees in a storm.


The ground is covered with oak, maple, sassafras, birch. More than ankle-deep.


The macadam is slippery with leaves. It’s almost like ice. Before there is real ice, we have to clear the driveway and backyard. Winter is close.


Not here, not yet. It’s still warm inside and outside. So warm I turned the heat off. November it may be, but it’s short-sleeved and shorts weather.

Tomorrow, it’s supposed to drop down … into the fifties. Maybe low sixties.


For November in New England, this is not cold. Barely cool.


Maybe winter will just take a pass this year and not show up at the party. I could live with that.


Cardinal Guzman, the host of this challenge, has gorgeous galleries, so please go look! 



Autumn was late by about two weeks. Though late, it arrived and wasn’t bad, all things considered. As a result, the peak foliage was also two weeks late. That was just a couple of days ago, when normally our trees are half stripped of leaves.



Today, the “fall” part of Fall occurred. What normally takes a couple of weeks, took a few hours. We took Bonnie to the groomer at 10:30 in the morning and the trees were glorious.



It’s a half hour drive from our house to the groomer. A slow crawl down Route 16, through Milford. Which, like Uxbridge, is doing late season roadwork. They have police misdirecting traffic. It makes everything worse.


By one in the afternoon, when we went to pick Bonnie up, most of the trees went almost bare.


These are the pictures I took the day before yesterday. It was the last best day of this year’s Autumn foliage.


It’ll be another year before it comes round again. If only it could have lasted longer.



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It’s such a brief period of time. Autumn comes and goes in a few weeks. The shortest of our seasons, the most spectacular. The most yearned for.

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For these brief weeks, I look out my window and it makes me happy. This is the view right now and for a few more days … until the leaves turn brown and the wind carries them away.




Ladybug says:

I would like you to take three pictures in or around your home of things that are special to you. Tell me the story about it. Why is it special?


I live in the woods and living here is like … well … living in the woods. The trees are all around us, naked in winter, providing deep shade in summer … and glorious in October.


Life amidst the trees has its drawbacks. The house is dark in the summer. The oaks are tall forming a canopy the sun cannot penetrate. But our house stays cooler in the summer than most.


The trees are constantly changing. Growing. Reshaping themselves. They whisper between themselves, secrets only they know and I would love to share.


As I sat in the living room, baseball playoffs on the screen, I looked outside. Today is the fifth anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy. Which means five years officially cancer free.

Do I know for sure I’m cancer free? Of course not. No one knows that, not really. It does mean that I have had no symptoms, no signs. Nothing that makes that red light start flashing.


As part of this unofficial celebration, my granddaughter gave me a hair cut. Actually, I got several hairs cut. My hair has been falling out by the handful, probably the anemia and vitamin deficiencies catching up with me.


Having mid-back long hair wasn’t helping. While I try to get my levels back, it turns out the hair looks pretty good.


I am alive and with just a little bit of luck, I will stay that way for a good many years to come.

Meanwhile, the leaves are finally changing. For real.

The sun was low in the sky, just before sunset. It’s a particularly beautiful time of the day and especially beautiful this time of year. The sun is more golden in October … and today, the leaves got serious about autumn. It was only after the rain — last week — that color began to show in our trees.

It isn’t our best year, but it’s improving. I think it’ll be good, if not great. This is what you see from out my front door.


Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons -10

Bob and I went to the dam today.


I wanted to show him where the beauty spots are, though eventually I’m sure he will discover his own favorites. For now, I’m enjoying playing tour guide.

Into the woods from the back deck, through the last of the fuchsias.

Into the woods from the back deck, through the last of the fuchsias.

I also knew this challenge was coming up, so I took pictures with a mind to showing the changing seasons in our small town and nearby.

It’s autumn. It ought to be full-bore glorious trees of scarlet and gold. More like a rich pastel. The colors are stronger along the river, as they always are, but elsewhere, they are not the vivid display we expect in New England.


Most people think the lack of color is the result of our continuing drought. It has gone on for at least five years. Even though we get a lot of snow in the winter, it’s barely enough to keep the rivers from completely drying up. Barely enough to keep the aquifer alive so we will have water in our wells and thus in our homes.


Drought is a frightening thing. Scary for people, lethal for the wildlife. I haven’t seen a duck, swan, or goose since early spring. Today, there was a turtle sunning himself on a rock in the river. Usually, a turtle would be a common sight, but even the turtles have been rare this spring and summer.


The rivers have been so low, it’s hard to imagine there are enough fish to support a single family of herons.


The drought is not merely local. It’s national. International. The climate is changing. Our world is changing and we seem to be unable to do anything to help it or ourselves.

Cardinal Guzman, the host of this challenge, has totally blown us away with his gallery. Absolutely take a look. Amazing photography.