What does November mean to you?

November is the month that winter really begins in Minnesota. The song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot always lurks in my mind during November. I can hear the following refrain from his song whenever the wind blows strong:

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call ‘Gitche Gumee’.
Superior, they said, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early!

“November is the eleventh and penultimate month of the year in the Gregorian calendar and one of four Gregorian months with the length of 30 days. In Latin, novem means “nine”. November was also the ninth month in the Roman calendar until a month less winter period was divided between January and February” (Wikipedia).
November is when our leaves have all gone, fall is over and we expectantly wait the coming snow. Although in many years, like this one, we often get surprised very early with an “unseasonably” early storm. Our November days alternate between gray and gloomy with strong winds and an occasional burst of weak sunshine. It is as if the weather gods are building up to heap winter upon us but they haven’t yet quite got the steam for an all out winter storm. The lakes are not fully frozen, the paths have little snowfall and the woods are bleak and dreary looking. Not too many people choose November in Minnesota as their favorite month. The storms we get send you inside with a cold beating rain that is no fun to be caught in. But for a few degrees, a November storm could have been a real blizzard. No snow means no skiing and no snowmobiling. It has not been cold long enough for the ice to be deep enough for ice skating or ice fishing.

What to do in November in Minnesota is a puzzling question. If you are smart, you will build a fire, find a good book, get a hot chocolate, throw a blanket over yourself and resign yourself to five months of winter. With enough firewood, hot chocolate and books, you can make it through another November in Minnesota. You still have Thanksgiving to look forward to. Thanksgiving marks the gateway to the shopping and holiday season. No matter how cold and how much snow there is, you will need to get outside to find the best bargains and put the holiday season in order. Sadly, Karen and I have become snowbirds and to be quite frank, we will no longer puzzle over what to do in November since we are now in Arizona for the winter.

What do you like and dislike about November? What are your associations with this month? How do you get through November? What is the most important or fun thing that you have ever done in November?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 11:12:21

    The first hint of fall comes in late August, when less healthy trees near the edges of roads begin to show a rim of red or orange on their otherwise green leaves. It is then that the dread of coming winter siezes me. By November, my last hope of wrmer than average weather is blasted by the ice and snow. I really should get out of New England for half the year, as my smarter friends do.



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