"Do you like November?" Becky asked. I didn't like last November: no work, many worries about my family, a dying grandmother, on top of the encroaching cold and darkness. This fall things I am too busy to like/dislike something as simple as a month, but I understood very well when she brought up the shock that hits like cold water the first time you look out the window at 5 pm and discover it's already dark. That conversation was two weeks ago, before the clock change, talking on the phone across several states, watching the sun set outside at 6pm on the evening of a bonus indian summer.
But last night I walked out into a bright 11:30 pm. There was snow on the ground, the first of the season, laying there like leftover light that would have been in the spring or summer sky, but had now found another way to appear, frozen into another form, scattered in profusion on the ground. The stadium floodlights from the college football game were still on, and the clouds that brought the snow were still hanging low, waiting to deliver more, and the brightness reflected everywhere.
We had come out from a band practice, onto the porch, gathering our instruments and taking our leave. "It's amazing," Suzanne said, "you can sometimes look out the window to the street, with the porchlight on, and not see our cars, at 7pm, but now..." She reached in behind the screen door, turned out the porch light. There wasn't any difference.
(Those who were hoping for something spooky should beware the laughing cat.)