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November 22nd, 2011 | 3 Comments »

This isn’t always my most favorite month.

There’s something about November that seems transitional to me; a wrinkle in the calendar between Fall and Winter, the weather hanging in balance, at once cold and snowy, then balmy and mild. It teases, and the sun doesn’t shine much. It brings Thanksgiving, and then we slide in to December, in Christmas and Winter and a last long descent to a new year.

But November, you’re just not my thing. You’re dark and dreary and suddenly twilight at 5:oopm and the wind feels raw, like knives trying to truss my cheeks. You are one long rambling gray day after another.

But a few years ago, November and I started to talk, to try and get along and see how we could be more inclined to one another. It started with an essay from Jeanette Winterson, an author I’d become familiar with that year. She spoke so eloquently of embracing winter darkness, of accepting the early fade of light in our day, to resist the urge to fill the home with artificial light and to try and live with the darkness. On a few occasions, with the guys away for an evening, I lit the house with candles and a fire and sat among the darkness, feeling it slipping through me and filling me with….. peace.

I did cheat just a tad on the light, using a few well placed strands of tiny white lights to help illuminate the darkness, but it added a softer light than incandescence, and this bakers rack in my kitchen is so lovely that it helped make the rooms brighter without all that harshness. Candles are such a favorite of mine, and I try to light as many as possible in the house when the afternoon light begins to fade, as their soft flickering waves send simple calming thoughts through my mind, helping it to slow down, to stop the incessant spinning of thoughts, life, work, meals. You know….. my normal thoughts.

Looking at November in this way, seeing it for what it really is, and not expecting that it can be what it’s not; embracing the inevitable change of season, and light and warmth, moving from sweatshirts to sweaters and slippers and hand warmers has created more of an awareness of what beautiful things can be found in this 11th month.

And I’ve discovered that I don’t dread the turn of the calendar page, the day after Halloween where it’s suddenly November, with cold and gray and drab. The moments when the light slips from day to evening, all rosy and purple, where shadows and light mix seamlessly are stark and gorgeous, watched over by a steaming tea cup or the hum of an oven. The nights call for another blanket tossed on the bed, it’s weight drawing me to sleep deeper, more restful, a content feline pressed to my leg.

So November, I’m thankful for you, especially in recent years when we’ve learned a bit more about each other, and found our common path. I have found that I can appreciate your gray skies, your cold winds and early darkness. I can love what you offer and settle in with your days, warm and snug. We can be friends, after all. I’m glad too.You’ve shown me some amazing beauty.

{{all these photographs were taken in years past in the month of November}}

It’s Week 11 of Just Write Tuesdays, hosted by the ever-grateful Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary.

What’s on YOUR plate this month??

3 responses to “november”

  1. Amber says:

    And I just bookmarked that essay. It’s beautiful.

  2. Amber says:

    I am not friends with November. Not at all. But after reading this…maybe I will try harder.

  3. Renee says:

    Lovely photos! I have always liked November (my birthday + the start of the holidays). Glad to see you have begun to enjoy this time of year.