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Nov 1, 2012 By Steven R. Peck

Hold out hope that it doesn't answer the door when winter comes knocking

Few smiths of the written word ever could boil a thought to its essence so well as Emily Dickinson. Of the month beginning today, she wrote: "November always seemed to me the Norway of the year."

The sentence has an unusual quality. You don't know exactly what it means, yet at the same time you know exactly what it means. November has arrived.

"I like the grey November day," rhymed Robert Louis Stevenson. Residents of Wyoming's Wind River Basin know the November sky well. We live in a sunny place, but November surely must be the grayest month -- the brilliance of early fall gone, the brilliance of the mid-winter day still to come, the green of summer lost, the flowers of spring on the far horizon.

November. If it does its job, the month will permit weather more like October and less like December. If it is benign and permits the vestiges of summer to flicker awhile longer, then winter won't seem so long.

But if November surrenders, if it answers the door when winter knocks and invites the old man inside, if it lends itself to snows and winds and cold, then winter will be a much longer season, practically speaking.

Whatever November can deliver will be welcome. This is how Henry David Thoreau put it:

"The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of.

The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July."

Hold out hope for our new month, and we'll all give thanks before it's over.

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