November, for me, is a month of transition. The surprise and delight of fall leaves on the Cape has given over to a duller gleam today, a more muted beauty. Just a few days ago, the vividness of the trees and skies left me breathless, in the northern light that strikes here around four or five in the afternoon. Soon, the days will get colder still, the leaves will blow off the trees, and winter will arrive. In between, bookended by Halloween and Thanksgiving, candles are lit, and the last harvest celebrated. I find myself lately melancholic, after an absurdly warn autumn, to see the sun shine bright, yet the wind too chilly. Maybe it is a gardener’s bane, these days when the last flowering plants days are numbered, and the stakes lifted to be stored. I have embarked on a house clearing, better suited to spring when windows can be open to let in fresh breeze. Now, it is all pollen and dust and chill. Yes: soup, tea, roasting vegetables, but I confess I’m only steady with one: tea, milky with sugar. Living on the coast, in a beach town, the tide offers a good example of transition, especially at the salt marshes. Here, we can see the way the vegetation richly comes alive with the water, and how it becomes parched without. I recommend, for a wonderful look into the ways of life on Cape Cod, writer Robert Finch, whose latest volume is called The Outer Beach.
The other day I walked without expectation, and looking up, saw a rainbow, merging out of a cloud break. There was no arch, just the rainbow palette of all seven colors melding into one another, in a sphere. I had no phone-camera to capture the image, but googling, I discovered that my use of the word palette was not unique, and that the more technical term is iridescence, or irisation, caused, as radio Earth Sky reporter Deborah Byrd explains, is formed by tiny crystals of water droplets in the cloud. No matter what name the phenomena, what an apt metaphor for the hidden pleasures in seasons of change.