t this season,—thin, faded, ragged, their bold note sunk to a feeble quaver, and their manner a mere caricature of that inexpressible military smartness with which they held up their heads in May.
Yet I cannot really find anything sad even in November.
When I think of the thrilling beauty of the season past, the birds that came and went, the insects that took up the choral song as the birds grew silent, the procession of the flowers, the glory of autumn,—and when I think that, this also endeaffluence and liberality in the universe which seasons of changeless and uneventful verdure would never give.
The catkins already formed on the alder, quite prepared to droop into April's beauty,—the white edges of the May-flower's petals, already visible through the bud, show in advance that winter is but a slight and temporary retardation of the life of Nature, and that the barrier which separates November from March is not really more solid than that which parts the sunset from the sun
lled with fragrance its folded blossom.
Winter is no such solid bar between season and season as we fancy, but only a slight check and interruption: one may at any time produce these March blossoms by bringing the buds into the warm house; and the petals of the May-flower sometimes show their pink and white edges in autumn.
But every grass-blade and flower-stalk is a mausoleum of vanished summer, itself crumbling to dust, never to rise again.
Each child of June, scarce distinguishable in November against the background of moss and rocks and bushes, is brought into final prominence in December by the white snow which imbeds it. The fragile flakes collapse and fall back around it, but retain their inexorable hold.
Thus delicate is the action of Nature,—a finger of air, and a grasp of iron.
We pass the old red foundry, banked in with snow and its low eaves draped with icicles, and come to the brook which turns its resounding wheel.
The musical motion of the water seems almost unna