Photograph by Valentina Sadiul
Fall is the harvest season in the northern hemisphere and November represents its apogee in the warmer climates of California. The rush to last harvest has commenced; yams are pulled from the earth and squashes are culled from withering vines while persimmons and mandarins still hang like fiery ornaments, awaiting the first frosts.
It’s no wonder that my grapheme-color synaesthesia has imbued this month with a burnished hue. I see the word “November” in a rich orange, the color of roasted pumpkins, and akin to the warm highlights on the ubiquitous liquidambar trees that adorn gardens in the greater Bay Area. The letter “N” has always been orange, as long as I can recollect. And, as a spatial-sequential and time-units synaesthete, it seems obvious to me that this eleventh month would sit off to my left, warming the waning year with its incendiary glow, one that fades to black as winter arrives.
I have a haphazard pattern of colored months. It’s rather common for grapheme-color synaesthetes to experience a given word as stained by its initial letter. For example, my first name Carolyn, is cerulean, which is also the color of the letter “C”. My last name Hart is chartreuse, as is the letter “H”. But, while the word “October” is white, I see the month of October in yellow. And the word “December” is purple, but the month is inky black.
Perhaps the congruence of my orange letter “N” and the even oranger word “November” is why I’m so fond of late autumn. But, I think those pumpkins, ready for roasting and folding into sweet and spicy pies have something to do with my delight….