All day the darkness and the cold
Upon my heart have lain,
— John Greenleaf Whittier
The Japanese maple was completely red and the harvest almost done. There were no more grapes; squash and rutabaga now filled the stalls on market day. November. The month always reminded him of the dust jacket of a selection of Poe’s tales and poems: the black figure hunched forward into rising wind and mystery. He wondered what his elderly Dutch neighbours thought this time of year, a time of slowly gathering darkness. Perhaps late autumn differed in the Low Countries. Still, there were the shortening days, the nearly constant wind from northern Michigan and the upper Great Lakes, the rattle of rain throughout the deserted hours of the night. Today, however, dawned chill but sunny, the first killing frost yet to fall. Picking tomatoes, each orange-red globe hard and cool to the touch, like those steeled ships bringing immigrants to North America, war-weary Europe far behind, each man crowding the rail facing his unknown day alone.