The Fifth Season

rose in november

It is indisputably late fall; almost the first day of winter. Or, as they say in Britain, Midwinter, which makes more sense, because as soon as December 21st rolls around, the days start getting longer…and isn’t winter the season of short days and long nights? (My husband insists the days keep getting shorter into January — “the lag time”.)

Right now it feels like some kind of fifth season is upon us. Most of the deciduous leaves are gone, blowing across bare yards and sidewalks. Muted colors fill garden and sky. The days are indeed short, making me want to hibernate. But wait…there are roses still blooming, and the air is warm enough for confused gnats and fruit flies to hatch. I leave my coat home, and wonder if I can still get the whole sunny border dug up and replanted before it gets “too cold” — whenever that may be. This strange fifth season made Thanksgiving a delight, and makes Christmas seem months away! I’m enjoying it all with a sense of dread that tomorrow or the next day will suddenly be freezing cold without any warning. Meanwhile, I continue transplanting, snipping fresh parsley and chives from the garden, and working without a hat or coat.

Has the climate changed? Eighteen years ago, in 1993, it began snowing the first week of December and there was snow on the ground until Easter. Happy Birthday, Philip!


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