Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In November

In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.

In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.

-from In November by Cynthia Rylant

Each fall, when the school year starts, we rummage through the children’s book cases and find In November. Its slow pacing and winter world feel exotic then, and we pretend shiver as we read it through at bed time.

November arrives, and with it scarf and hat weather. It doesn’t usually snow, but the skies hang low over our heads, walks lose their pleasure, and when we come in from the cold the first person finished shedding their layers heads to the hot water kettle to make some tea.

At parties and in email, we start to plan Thanksgiving dinner with our friends. We each have a traditional dish to bring, and we search the internet for one or two more ideas to try. In the weeks before Thanksgiving we bake more, and leave the oven door open for its heat when we’re through.

In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and a pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year.

At bedtime tonight we piled blankets on the children and read In November again. The words felt different, the pictures too. The outside world has slowed down to the same pace as the text, it mirrors the paintings with their beautiful simplicity. The story has turned from exotic to true.


Lynn said...

I am so happy to learn about this book! It sounds wonderful, and we're already Cynthia Rylant fans; I'm partial to When I Was Young in the Mountains, and my husband loves Silver Packages (a great one for December). Thank you, Julia!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lovely book.

Mary said...

what a beautiful beautiful post.

I am going to go look for her books -

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I sensed Cynthia Rylant as I read those first sentences. She has such a way with words and images. I need to get this book for my boys!

lizardek said...

Not just the words, but now I'm going to go google-stalk that illustrator. Lovely!

Julia said...

I'm going to look up more of her books too, I never realized that she had published more than 100.