I have used this classic text, In November, for years with students and teachers. Cynthia Rylant is an incredible poet, a master of metaphorical language . She is a person to imitate. If you haven’t read this book written in 2000, here is a taste from the opening pages.
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.
With students I usually use another month when using this is a writing mentor text. However, this morning as the rake hit the leaves I began to feel the itch to write. I am finding more and more that writing comes when I am participating in repetitive motion. It is so satisfying to me to see a space grow clean as I work, to see words where there once was white space.
I can count on November for dark skies to cast shadows of sadness,
I can count on November to see a flag flying in front of my dad’s house remembering always the we luckily live in freedom because of brave men and women and their service,
I can count on November for leaf on top of leaf flying from the west, stopping in our front yard, even after we think we are done and our trees hang bare…we are not,
I can count on November to remind me that age is a number only and that every day is such a gift to be treasured and celebrated,
I can count on November to remind me to live with a spirit of Thanksgiving, that even though life is a bumpy hike, I can choose how to walk, I can let love and gratitude shine in the shadows ushering in the sparkle of snow and God’s gift to us,