A chill in the air

Fall: no better time in the world, especially in New York. The leaves are all manner of gorgeous, culture kicks into high gear, and everything is liberally spiked with pumpkin essence -- lattes, bread, ice cream. Big bouquets of dried flowers (see above) are only fifteen dollars at the Union Square Greenmarket; snuggling up with a mug of hot cocoa and a book is an acceptable way to spend one's Friday night; and the whole season culminates in Thanksgiving, a gastronome's delight, where your biggest worry is whether the bird, six colorful sides, two pies, and a case of wine will carry you through the night.

Or at least that's how it should be. This year has been a strange one, and November has proved no exception. Everything seems extremely urgent and yet as fleeting as a fog that rolls in before dawn and dissipates by 10 a.m. I may be in the home stretch of National Novel Writing Month (just 10,000 words to go), but there are a lot of other balls still in the air. I'll let this photo of my cat's mournful cry express my agita: