Kate Abbott: November shines with vivid color


The winterberry caught me off guard. The bushes in the noon light glowed an impossible red, tanager red, too bright even for cardinal. I was heading north from Great Barrington after a meeting, turning over how it feels to live here, and Windy Hill Orchards came up suddenly on the right. (You know you live in the Berkshires when your commute involves unexpected orchards ...)

It made me wish what I often wish, what I suspect every three-year-old wishes all the time, that I could stop the car and get out to walk. I resolved to come back when I could. Something that beautiful should not be allowed to go by so quickly.

But the maple trees in downtown Stockbridge are still impossiblyy yellow, so many late trees turning that they eclipse the last of the oaks. And the larches, the hackmatack, have turned a deep gold before they shed their needles (Route 7 near High Lawn Farm is an unusually good place to spot deciduous evergreen trees). And the water in the swamps glistens between the straw-gold hummocks.

How can anyone tell me that November is grey? When I look up November, when I hear about it, it seems to get called dim and damp and colorless, as though a month could turn into wet cement.

But it isn't. It's sweet apples and walnuts and smoke-blue hills and the first scent of wood smoke, and firelight, and visiting time.

And it fills me with thanks.

Getting up close ...

Bird Banding

Mass Audubon invites visitors to oserve handheld birds captured with mist nets, banded and released, Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Berkshire Sancutaries, 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox. For more information, visit www.massaudubon.org.

Berkshire Knapsackers

The Knapsackers will lead a Seven Sisters hike Saturday. The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail stretches across the ridge-line and shows the Pioneer Valley from a unique perspective in a beautiful, leisurely hike from one end to the next. The trip will begin in Holyoke. For more information, call Maureen
Daley at (413) 728-5162.

Hoffman Bird Club

Birders will join in the Northwest Connecticut Waterfowl Census on Saturday. Meet at Bartholomew's Cobble in Sheffield. Bring lunch and a scope. Meet at 8 a.m. for a trip that ends at 2 p.m. Call co-leaders: Kate Ryan (413) 528-4355 and Rene Wendell (413) 229-6600 for more information.

To reach Kate Abbott:


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