by Carolyn Trower

November is a month of ambiguity for me. I love Thanksgiving and all that goes with it; the food, the fall decorations (that I stubbornly keep up until after Thanksgiving), the church services and singing “We Gather Together.” And I love the anticipation of the upcoming holidays; the shopping trips, the baking (one of the few culinary activities I enjoy), and the movies.
On November 15, I quietly noted to myself what would have been my 50th wedding anniversary. On November 23 I’ll change the flowers on my husband’s grave, think about the time we had together, and wish his spirit well.
November is also hunting season. We’ve published a number of photos of young hunters with their deer taken during youth hunting season. A rural rite of passage verified by the huge smiles on their faces. Although few of us need to eat what we kill, it’s a testament to our pioneer ancestors that most of us harvest the meat.
Over the last few weeks there have been numerous deer laying on the side of the road, victims of playing tag with motorists. Blacktops are the worst; most have woods or dense shrub growth on both sides of the road. The day after our last snow I saw one deer laying in the ditch. Its body was partially covered with the snow that covered the wounds and blood which gave it an almost peaceful appearance.
Earlier in the month, before the guns began to announce the sunrise, I rounded a curve and saw a scene right out of a movie. There in a recently harvested field were several deer, some obviously yearlings, gleaning the grain left between the broken corn stalks. Fortunately, there was no one behind me so I pulled over to watch. I never even thought to take a picture, just sat there and watched, trying to imprint the image on my mind even as they bounded off into the woods.
Most of the trees along our daily drives, those bisecting the fields and those lining the gravel roads, have dropped their leaves. Our splendid fall foliage lasted only days. All except the oaks. As I drove along Route J I noticed how the oaks were still dressed in their leathery leaves, from various shades of brown and tan to rich burgundy and purple. Squeezed in between them were cedars, their squashed stature indicative of the forest succession that will ultimately replace them and the sun-loving maples with Missouri’s natural cover of oak and hickory.
A final note – a meteorite hit the earth last week. I saw some photos on the internet that captured the streak in the sky. Speculation had it landing in St. Louis, but I’ve since read where it may have landed near Wellsville. How can you pinpoint an object that plunged from outer space, traveling a distance and speed not easily understood by most of us? When they do find it, who does it belong to? The owner of the land where it fell? The state? What will they do with it? You know the universities are lining up to get a “piece of the action.” What can a rock broken off from a meteor tell us? Can they know its origin? Will there be traces of organic material as well as unknown minerals embedded in it?
Maybe they’ll just parcel it out as paperweights. After all, do we really need to know all about an alien rock? There seems to be more relevant questions we can’t answer. Perhaps those answers can also be found in the stars.