Robert Frost ended a short poem on life and nature with the line, "Nothing gold can stay." October has ended after delivering golden fall days that make us regret the indoor tendencies of our lives. Stark November is at the doorstep now. We reacquaint ourselves with ridge-lines visible through bare trees and with stone walls along fields cleared and worked in a time when days were spent more outdoors than in.
When I'm tempted to complain as daylight and warmth and birds head south, I like to take a walk. Fall brings rich, pungent smells as fruits and vegetation turn towards the decay that replenishes soil: the true aromatherapy of nature, fresh and firsthand.
In November and on into winter, most birds come in variations of black and white, suitably matched to the landscape's somber palette. A walk likely will encounter black, white and gray chickadees coming close to investigate your presence. The lively company of chickadees can cheer the gray moods that often come with winter.
As part of a natural cycle, winter gives balance to the distractions and energies of summer and fall. It challenges us to sharpen our skills of observation and appreciation—perhaps of chickadees against a backdrop of birch trees, their favored roost tree; or stone walls, with their patina of blue/green lichen against granite grays.
In Frost's "Dust of Snow," he captured the mood-lifting value of a winter's walk.
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.