Multiple shades of grey in the out-of-doors

ESCANABA – A grey colored owl sits camouflaged against the old maple tree, while the November nighttime grows cold.

A white- footed mouse scurries from the woodshed with a mouthful of sunflower seeds. His grey little body is swallowed up into the safety of the drab blanket of leaves that cover the ground.

The grey coats stand at the edge of the field. Their breath is silver and frosty in the chilly air. It’s hard to tell where the lifeless cornstalks end and the charcoal colored forest begin. Thank goodness for their white flags, as the grey coats come to life and bound gracefully across the field.

The grey deer beneath the grey sky is what November is all about in the North Country.

Almost overnight, or so it seems, our world of awesome autumn color is transformed into the grey of November. The wind steals the last pretty leaf. The lake turns from a blue smiling friend to a cold frothing stranger ready to snatch up trespassers.

We recall November tragedies, like the sinking of the Bradley in Lake Michigan and the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior. Grey waters and grey skies are a powerful thing.

November is a transitional month. The last flowerpot is emptied in the garden just in time to usher in the first snowfall of the season.

As the hours of daylight dwindle, every living creature seems to find its nook. The migrators are gone. The hibernators are ready to doze off.

By day the grey squirrels give life to the lifeless tree branches. By night the flying squirrels frolic and feed in the moonlight.

Beneath the cedars, the snowshoe hares crouch, with their coats a blotchy brown and turning white. The constant colored cottontails, with their fur the color of dead grass, nibble by the birdfeeder.

From grey ashes in the woodstove to the grey stormy clouds that roam the sky, November can be a bit depressing. Deer season, Thanksgiving, hot coffee and pumpkin pie cheers the month up some.

There also is a silver lining to each grey cloud. Soon the greys will turn to white and a winter wonderland will sparkle across the Upper Peninsula!

So enjoy the grey days while you can. A comfy pair of boots, a favorite flannel shirt, and a good book can help you put some color into November.

Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.