I’ve struggled with NOvember for years, and previous postings have reflected my growing dread about the NO-month. The first time I recognized that I wasn’t alone in my dislike of November, I was in grade 11 English class—Ms. Willie van der Waal’s class in Hawkesbury, Ontario—more than 30 years ago. We were reading a poem by the British humourist and poet Thomas Hood (1799-1845) who waxed most eloquently on the month of November and all that is wrong with it, in his poem called, simply, “No!”
No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -
Well, I felt like I had met a soul mate. NOvember CAN most assuredly be a depressing, dark, dreary, dank, dismal month, especially for anyone who suffers from seasonal malaises. The clocks go back, and suddenly it’s dark at suppertime. The flamboyant foliar eruptions are fading, with the crimsons and coppers and fuchsias and other richly joyous colours turning to shades of brown and grey before they whirl away to become compost in someone else’s yard. The garden is relinquishing the last of its gifts, be it carrots nestled in frost-crusted earth, or rebellious roses determined to give one last hurrah before winter.
Despite some of my moody moments, (I can’t help it—it’s the Celt blood in me!) I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl, rather than the glass-half-empty goomy-gus. I don’t HATE November, though some days I most assuredly do dread it. After all, there are many things to be grateful for in my world, including where I live, who I love, and a thousand other joys. It’s really only the dreary days that give me fits, and those only if there are a couple in a row. Paint the sky blue and hang a glowing sun in it, and I’m just fine, even if the wind is blowing everything sideways. And as my love for nature deepens and is honed, (and thanks in no small part to my camera that teaches me to see,) I have learned also that there are YES moments in NOvember. Oh, very much Yes.
Moments like the utter stillness during a walk in the woods, when a defiant leaf on an otherwise denuded alder shrub causes a smile…
Or when late afternoon sunlight light catches a meadow of plants and turns them all to gold…
Or when the mighty Bay of Fundy throws a slight weather tantrum to remind us that she is, after all, the queen of tides and temper…(here she is humbling the wharf in Scotts Bay, reminding mere mortals that she is infinite...)
And there are flowers to be enjoyed, from the candy-floss colours of kalanchoes to the swanning grace of cyclamens, or simply indulging, as I did earlier this week, in a bunch of cut flowers on a weekly basis. (they make great compost, after all, when they’re spent).
And yes…every day that passes in November brings us that much closer to winter solstice…At which time the days begin to length, and we’re on the upward curve again.
So we’ll nestle up by the stove, (ably assisted in this by the remarkably wise Simon Q Snark, who knows all the best nestling places) and we’ll read, and plan, and enjoy the days…even in this No-month.