In Hancock County, Maine

Most Native Americans gave seasonal names to each full moon as a form of oral annual calendar. The local Abenaki Tribe called the November moon Mzatanos (“Freezing River Maker Moon”). We haven’t been able to find Native American names for “Super Moons,” but such a rare full moon visited us this November, almost 70 years after the prior one. It was a beauty, with a golden crown of a penumbra:

Notwithstanding what our ancient inhabitants expected, there hasn’t been any freezing of our rivers this mild November, which continues a disturbing climate trend. However, the month otherwise was as beautifully moody as ever. November played with our local islands, sometimes swirling sea diamonds around them, sometimes making them seem to levitate.

Sometimes, November would lather the islands with bright, lively whitecaps; sometimes she would mist them with soft darkening rain.

Sometimes, November would end a pewter-colored day with a startling rose and peach sunset.

November also is a time of endings. It's when many fishermen collect their lobster traps from the water and store them and their boats on shore; virtually all small pleasure craft are brought up high and dry before or during the month.

Most Wood Ducks and Greater Yellow Legs Sandpipers take their final bows and fly south in November.

The Tamarack trees turn gold and then lose all their needles during the month.

Chokecherry berries are ripped off their stems by rain; Queen Anne’s Lace cages itself; Viburnum leaves turn scarlet and spiral to the ground; 

November also is a time for many residents, human and otherwise, to change clothes. Male American Goldfinches trade in their yellow summer slickers and black caps for something that will blend into the winter’s colors; Common Loons trade in their black suits for gray ones and move from the lakes to the open sea before the waters freeze; the rifle phase of deer hunting season ends and White Tail Deer emerge from the woods in their thick winter coats.

Also, November's dark and windy days and rippling blue-black waters are good for seeing things that aren't there -- things that were the stuff of Native American legends before the advent of the real estate era.

Many tribes had a legend about two beautiful young sisters who bathed in forbidden waters and were turned into dreadful underwater snake-mermaid spirits. Local Passamaquoddy Tribe members called the spirits NeHwas. We have reason to believe that one of these spirits reached for us in a pond near here; she's definitely no longer a beauty.

Finally, and most important, November brings us a quintessential American legend that many of us try to reenact in our own way and hope that its universal message is understood and felt personally.

(For larger versions of the above images, as well as additional images of November moments that we wish to remember, click on the link below. We recommend that your initial viewing be in full-screen mode, which can be achieved by clicking on the Slideshow [>] icon above the featured image in the gallery to which the link will take you.)

Here’s the link for the full November virtual tour:


Barbara and Dick