Emilio SanchePerrier ( 1855-1907),
oil on panel.
Some comments on Monday's post, by Moonmouse, Sandra, and Written, in particular, made me think on how I view November.
It seems that after the garden furniture is stored away (aka heaved in a tottering, avalanch-prone heap in the garage), after the leaves - with joyful help from the dogs - are raked and either composted or bagged, the roses mulched, the peonies and such cut back, and the fountain is drained and secured from ice, that I withdraw from boundaries of my property.
I release my mental pickets from their vigil and position them instead as sentries within the walls of my old house. My mind retreats to a fortified redoubt to await attack from the armies of winter.
A curious thing -- this contraction of awareness -- to give up seisin for a season.
And it led me to consider, in my convoluted fashion, the ways which writers approach landcapes. Much like painters, perhaps. Some surreal, some impressionist, some precisely realistic. Most novels, I think, benefit if the writer can imply some symbolism in their landscapes. At least, to attach an understated metaphor to their descriptions of mundane streets and houses, fields and forests, cities and countries.
One of the most memorable stories I've read using this painterly method is an old post-war mystery by Marjorie Allingham called Tiger in the Smoke. A murderer loose. A London fog. A miasma of confusion among twisted streets.
"The sky was yellow as a duster and the rest was granular black, over printed in grey and lightenedby occasional slivers of bright fish colour as a policeman turned in his wet cape... Already the traffic was at an inevitable crawl. By dusk it would be stationary. To the west the Park dripped wretchedly and to the north the great railway terminus slammed and banged and exploded hollowly about its affairs. Between lay winding miles of butter-coloured stucco in every conceivable state of repair.
The fog had crept into the taxi where it crouched panting in a traffic jam. It oozed in ungenially, to smear sooty fingers over the two elegant young people who sat inside."