Maybe November hurts more because the land still remembers.

Winters are brutal, but it’s a different pain. The freezing and reviving and stinging of fingers, toes, ears, nose, but everywhere, everywhere. The pain of white, white, white. Color has abandoned this place. Warmth has gone south. Winter is the depths, so removed from anything that isn’t half an inch from death it doesn’t remember the world as anything else.

November remembers. The cold and the dark come faster than it can forget. There are still leaves on the trees, stragglers, holding on even as the color leeches and the water evaporates and they are nothing but crunchy, useless husks with roots too strong for their own good. But they are there, and November remembers when they were small, and then wide, and then strong, and then green, and then yellow.

The sun still has some heat. It is not just a pale light in the sky, a pretender, but the real thing. The clouds get pushed away and the sun comes out and it has warmth. Some. The shadows the sun make are thin and stark. Razors of black cutting across fallen leaves, icy ponds, and brown grass.

It wasn’t so long ago at all the sun was all heat and power. It filled the sky and it baked the land and sometimes it was too much but that was a problem for then, not for now. Now all November has are the memories, and in memories even the bitter can seem sweet.

Everything is dying but not quite dead.

Everything is cold but not quite frozen.

This is not the end, but the beginning of the end, and even as the darkness creeps in around it November can remember when things were bright. The remembering is the pain that pulls the heart down and makes bitter tears freeze on cheeks.

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