November Beauty

I’ve often thought of November as an ugly month. It’s cold compared to what’s come before and it promises colder to come. Leaves that offered brilliant colour to the landscape have fallen and are likely blowing around in a raw wind or else lying sodden on the ground. I’d once have said “November beauty” is an oxymoron. But…

I was walking with my dog recently, thinking about The Man with the Violin and how people like it in part for how it celebrates how good kids are at noticing beauty in unexpected places. Soon I found myself taking pictures. Of November!

Yes, the leaves had fallen from the trees, the green was gone from the fields, and clouds filled much of the sky. But ugly? Not once I tried opening my eyes to another possibility.

November Beauty

November Beauty





November Beauty

November Beauty

November Beaury

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Carol Foster on January 4, 2015 at 9:43 am

    I was always disappointed with the fact my birthday fell in November – the ugliest month of the year!

    Then one day, a few years ago, as I was coming home from work in a late afternoon in November, I stepped off the bus and was confronted with the one of the most glorious sunsets I had ever seen.

    After that I made a point of checking the November skies at dusk and was seldom disappointed.

    It seems, with the leaves off the trees and the sun at a different angle in the sky and with bleakness all around, November produces the loveliest views of all if one only looks upwards!

    Ever since then I have felt that was nature's birthday gift to me.

  2. Kathy Stinson on January 4, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Carol, I can see why this post resonated for you as it did. I know what you mean about November skies. And winter skies at dusk can be like that too. I always like it when my pre-dinner walk with my dog lands us on a certain street in our neighbourhood, where the trees are silhouetted against the sunset, a lovely backdrop to the swish and clack of kids playing hockey on the neighbourhood rink that lies between the sunset and me and my dog. Days like that I think why would anyone want to escape winter. Other days, it can be a little more challenging to feel that way.

    Thanks for posting your comment, Carol. It was a good one to remind me, today, to tune in for the beauty out there.

  3. Alys Milner on November 13, 2015 at 6:20 am

    Your sister Janet referred me to your lovely post and I'm glad she did.

    And what an amazing career you have: writing for children. I'm in awe.

  4. Kathy on November 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

    I'm glad she referred you here, Alys. Wondering why she did — who you are that she would think you might be interestedI — I visited your website. You're doing some lovely work in your garden. Had some great jack-o-lanterns this year too. And I love your 'Azalea after the rain' photo. I hope your leg will be mended soon. Thanks for stopping by. Do come again!

  5. Linda Samuels on November 14, 2015 at 5:27 am


    How wonderful to find your post! Like Alys, your sister, Janet (I'm a HUGE fan of hers) referred me here. Janet often writes about the wonderful time the two of you share together.

    There are certain sadness aspects to November (mostly the dying leaves, the loss of brilliant color, and the impending colder weather.)

    In a recent conversation with one of my friends, she offered up a new perspective, which mirrors what you've written. I'm guessing that's why Janet nudged me in your direction (thank you, Janet!) It's a way of seeing the gifts that less "clutter" offers. As someone who very much appreciates the changing landscapes (internal and external ones,) I understand the value of shifts.

    Thank you for sharing your discovery about a season (month) that has always been challenging for me. I can see the joy on the cover of your soon to be released book, "Harry and Walter." That's one happiness-filled image.


    • Kathy on November 14, 2015 at 8:08 am

      I'm a huge fan of Janet's too, Linda. It's a good thing I've given her some good ideas from time to time or I'd owe her big-time for all the people she's referring to my site. 🙂

      I used to feel downright melancholy at this time of year. I do better now, and it sounds like you do too. It does help to reframe (with thoughts like those I shared here and yours like "less clutter"). I also think of how much I enjoy the comfort and security of my shoes on dry pavement vs the sensations that come with heavy boots and unexpected patches of ice. I'll find something else to appreciate when I have those things to deal with.

      Qin Leng did a great job illustrating Harry and Walter. Even after having so many books published, I still can't wait to hold this one in my hands. 🙂

      Nice to have you stop by and comment, Linda. I hope you'll come again!

  6. Linda Samuels on November 14, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Janet's a great people connector. And I can see that as a writer, you must be too. It must be a family thing. Nice!

    There are always opportunities for expanding our gratitude…with things large and small. The key is taking the time to notice and acknowledge them. But what a difference it can make in our daily experience.

    I understand the thrill of holding one of your newly published books…being able to hold the manifestation of your creative energy. Exciting. The cover art is wonderful. I wish you much success with your newest book.

  7. Kathy on November 14, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you, Linda. Continued success in all your endeavours too.

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