01 November 2007

An Ode of Sorts to NOvember

As we turn our backs on the sugar-glut of October, with pumpkins sagging wearily like the wax candles spent inside them, I’m really fascinated to see what others will have to write about November for Garden Bloggers Muse Day.

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.


  1. Unfortunately November also means it's that much closer to the sugar glut of christmas.

    By the way congrat's on becoming a 'blog of note' on the sign on page here at blogger.com

  2. Wanna come to my house at the end of the month? (Thanksgiving dinner.) :-)

  3. I enjoyed the contemplative, musing, tone of this post. One thing that I enjoy in November is the Day of the Dead. It's a big celebration in Ca. I'm thinking of making a symbolic altar for my mother this year by writing some remembrances. Is this your beautiful cat?

  4. You have truly defined November. I remember as a child that I loved November. After all, my birthday is in November and, for a parent, that is a good month for a child to be born. What else is there to look forward to! LOL Now, I've had enough birthdays...well, it is only a number isn't it!

  5. A wonderful musing for Garden Bloggers' Muse Day , Jodi.

  6. Hmmm. NOvember? It's an overcast thirty days in Ontario but for me there's still fun and excitement in the air: Indian Summer, the first snowfall, the upcoming holidays....

    Happy Garden Bloggers Muse Day

  7. What a revelation, I did NOt kNOw that people did NOt like NOvember. It is August that usually gives me NO feeling. All that dreadful seemingly endless dry heat. Or sometimes February can get me Nodding NO.

    I do love your photos. They demonstrate your feelings so well.

  8. I wouldn't mind NOvember so much if it wasn't the beginning of so many months of lousy, cold weather! The plusses for me are getting ready for Christmas, and, of course, I love Thanksgiving.

  9. I agree about November. The time change really makes it bad. No frost yet here in Chicago but we're close.
    Lovely photos and congrats on making blogs of note.

  10. Hi and welcome to bloomingwriter's garden...and thank you to all who have congratulated bloomingwriter on (somehow) being a Blog of Note. It's been really fun because as a result I've gone off to visit more interesting blogs, though I've not been real quick at answering all the comments.

    Bare Bones Gardener, you're right about the sugar glut coming...although I love Christmas, just not the commercial overload--Christmas 'carols' being deluged in the mall in October makes me nuts. Or any time before Remembrance Day.

    Kylee, we'll have to have an e-Thanksgiving dinner together, it's a bit of a drive to your place...I'm actually looking forward to American Thanksgiving because with so many excellent blogging friends to read, I expect to learn plenty--and maybe pick up a recipe or two?

    Princess Haiku, the remembrances for your mother sound wonderful. And yes, this is one of our bad catchildren (bad in a good way, of course)

    Layanee your birthday is another GOOD thing about the month...and well, it's better to have another birthday than the alternative, isn't it? I think I shall be like Jack Benny; 39 and holding. :-)

    Carolyn Gail, I'm glad you created Muse Day...it's a lot of fun!

    Dirty Knees, you're a glass-half-full sort of person too...there IS fun and excitement and joy, just we have to remember to look for it, some days.

    Lisa, February is my second bad month (although I refer to it as Farch, the endless season of February March when we've had enough of winter, but spring is no where to be found--at least in Nova Scotia...but there are ways to be entertained by that, too.

    Muum....exactly. It's the weather thing. Now this gets me wondering, for those who live in the southern hemisphere, when is their equivalent November? technically it would be May, but is it that grey and dreary? We'll have to wait and see what Stuart and others have to say.

  11. Wonderful post, Jodi! Your photos are beautiful, and serve to remind me exactly why it is that I love November so much. Yes, I love it. The stillness you talk about is part of the reason I love it, and, at least to my mind, is something that November offers like no other month.

  12. wowww wat a beautiful post. ur blog reflcts that wat a wonderful greenpeace person u r. the pics n d bckground of ur blog soothes the eyes n d writings soothes d soul. lovely.

    the cat is soooo cute :)

    tk cr
    :) :) :)

  13. I love your photos - and your cats! Hugh E. Mungus is awesome! Mine is a tiddler called Milo but he has a big swingy belly so we call him Lardass when he's bad!

  14. I like looking the pictures on your blog it remings me the joys and wonders of autumn. Autumn and Spring are the only two seasons I love the most. Summer is too hot and Winter is too cold.(Not in some countries though!)

    Starting to become dark sooner and more colder. What annoys me no one in my household has bothered to water the two plants on the windowsill. Last time I checked they were dehyrated. I always ending up caring from them.

  15. Just a quick note...great blog!

  16. I understand about the dread of November and I love that poem.

    No more size 6
    No more money
    No more time

  17. At least in November the lawn is still green - in March after the snow melts is when everything really looks bleak! You might look into getting a UV lightbox - it does help a lot at this time of year.

  18. Yup May downunder, would be equivelent to your autumny november, as it is the end of our autumn. Mum's day goes well with mum's in flower, and is the sort of traditional flower.

    We totally skip your thanksgiving and halloween celebrations, it's Spring here afterall.

    But we often do "Christmas in July" parties, so we can get a little taste of what you northies call a cold or snowy xmas. Instead of spending chrissy arvo' in the pool or down the beach or creek to get away from 40 degrees celcius plus heat.

  19. It's been more than 8 years, but I haven't forgotten November in the north, Jodi! At least we had several family birthdays to brighten the month for us back then. An Austin November is different - I used your "NOvember" in my post to explain why that is so.

    I love your line "thanks in no small part to my camera that teaches me to see" and think the Bay of Fundy~Scott's Bay photo is very cool.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  20. Sorry to hear that you don't like November. I don't mind it because we usually don't have much snow, so life goes on as usual. My birthday is in November, and Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. I am just beginning all my winter projects and am still full of enthusiasm.

    January is the month I really don't like! You can count on cold and snow. It is too early to start seed (although we get lots of catalogs that month) and spring is still far away. I am not crazy about August, either.

  21. Nice pictures. And nice content. Keep on the good work.

  22. Congratulations on being a "blog of note". I can see why. I enjoyed your NOvember musings. I guess I might be inclined to agree with you about it's being a gloomy month. But I still love celebrating my birthday, which is in November. Your pictures are great! I don't know which I like more: the cats, landscapes or flowers. The flowers, I think, even though I am a cat lover. I just started a new blog. I checked yours out as you are a fellow writer. Come visit anytime. :)
    Ann Wilkes http://sciencefictionmusings.blogspot.com

  23. I love your first photo! It looks so beautiful with the rainbow color of the vine and the metallic light fixture. I would love that as a print on my wall. The golden meadow picture is also beautiful. I personally always liked going into november because that is when I got to wear my fall/winter clothes that I like more than my summer clothes. But now since I have started gardening I'm dreading the change too. I really will miss the light and the warm days. At least I have house plants and seeds to look forward to. I hope you can find some things to make you happy in NOvember

  24. Hi Jodi,
    After I read your post, first I thought hmmm... yes, it is the worst month coming. In December, all Christmas lights and decorations make it cheerful - if you try to not see and hear all commercial side of it. In January the day seems to get little longer, sun little warmer - it gets better... in Feb, there are first flowers coming.. jihaaa... spring is coming!
    So, after reading your post I decided to go looking for positive sides of NOvember - first one... you start to practice be more assertive: NO NO NO... rest... I am going to find and definately will share it.
    BTW does 'vember' means anything?
    I remember reading somewhere that you have a newsletter, could you pls add me to it? ewamariasz at wp dot pl

  25. The photos are so beautiful! I just started a blog, how do you post photos and videos.


  26. Awesome writing, a pleasure to read you.

    Mr. Ro

  27. I actually never really thought much about the month of November. Besides Thanksgiving I guess there isn't much to be excited about. I think those rare glorious sunny mornings with my coffee and book will make up for the sly and sneaky November though. Love your writing!!

  28. Thank you for becoming a blog of note for this month.
    Your thoughts on cats and plants are indeed good.
    Photos taken by your are worth noting.

  29. Friday morning, stressed with too much to do. A large cup of coffee and reading your blog I am now relaxed and feel I have been on a beautiful journey through Autumn. Thanks and sorry if i posted this message twice, i got confused :)

  30. I love your writing about November! I am new to Blogspot. Hope I can find you again! :-)
    Brrr! I'm sitting here at 6.52am and it's as dark as the bottom of a pit outside. Another thing November is good for - cold, dark mornings!

  31. Hey! It's interesting to see another point of view about November. Here in Singapore where it's summer all year round, there isn't really much gloom in the air. It's partially also because the school holidays are in November. Thanks for this post. I really enjoyed it.

  32. What a beautiful post about November.

    I don't really care that much about November either, although I always liked the closness of family at Thanksgiving.

    Now I have my daughter's birthday to look forward to in November (she'll be 10 soon). I will just have to consider her the sole flower in the garden at this time of the year.

  33. Hi there!

    Just came across you lovely blog. You put a smile on my face on this 'blah' No-month day. Thanks for this!

  34. Hilarious commentary. I felt like I was reading an old English novel or something. Great idea for a blog. Love your witty writing style. And all the cat pictures, of course.


  35. I happen to love November! I'm in S. California, so none of the woes of the season touch my shores or curbs, as it were! November here brings joy to my Impatients who love the cool nights and the sunshine of the days. They just bloom their little faces off! The nights are crisp and breezy, just right for a fire. I love the clear, clear Autum skies and the mountains that stand with pride over my fair city. I plant my Daff bulbs and trim the sadddness from the plants that didn't quite make it through another 112 degree week,knowing they will gladly welcome November beauty with open arms and blooms galore!
    I'm sorry November makes you sad, but November is the best place to be! Well...it's also my birthday month! So, have a little something fun on the 12th and think of my beautiful November in Monrovia! jeanettejsays....

  36. The cat and the photo 're fantastic, you have a gift


  37. Colleen, you're right--those still days are wonderufl--when they come--we've had so much wind this autumn, it's been crazy. And we're about to get more...
    Nancy, those sunsets are even more marvelous with the Bay as a backdrop, where they reflect so much light. Another good thing about November
    preetilata, glad you enjoyed the post, and yes, Simon is far too cute...
    Johnskibeat, welcome, Milo sounds like a great kitty too. We have a few that are a bit too large...
    chimerastone, the moderate temperatures of early autumn and late spring (here in NS) are wonderful; it's just the early spring and late autumn that isn't so nie.
    Andrea, very funny poem adaptation...and true.
    MMD, that's true about the lawn--ours could actually use one more mowing before the mower gets winterized. And I am going to look into a light box. Thanks!

    barebones, there's that beauty of blogging--learning from others in other countries such as yourselves. We give mums on Mum's day too, but they're potted of course, not in bloom in the garden.
    Annie, your NoWvember post is terrific. Stay tuned for more Bay photos if the weather gets as rowdy as forecast.
    Sandy, I like parts of November--but it doesn't always like me. I don't mind the cold if it would get cold and stay cold, but the fluctuations in weather really bother my aching parts.
    Ann, so many birthdays in November. Those are cause for celebration! I'll be over to visit soon/
    Vanillalotus, there are many things to make me happy in November--like bloggers to read!
    Ewa, yes, December is great (except for the birthday part for me...chuckle chuckle, not having any more) and the colour and decorations is fun-i ignore the ultra commercial stuff around Christmas and focus on the joy.
    I don't think that 'vember' means anything--but now I'm curious and will look it up; looking up the meaning of the months ought to be interesting--I know of a couple, but not the late months.

    NJDD and Mr. Ro, welcome; it's a pleasure to have you visit and comment.
    Rachel, welcome, and yes, any glorious sunny day works against the grumbly grey days.
    Chaviso, welcome, thanks for the kind words.

    Femaletherapy, welcome; I'm glad to have helped with relaxing your day.
    Janilou, come back anytime...you're right about the cold dark mornings, but just wait...after solstice, the days will get longer..
    Jane, hi, can't imagine yearround summer like Singapore; I like the seasonal changes, even when they get a bit tedious.
    Mudpies and moombeams, great name; and a child's birthday in any month is a joy.
    Mo, Hi yourself, glad to make you smileQ
    Henson Ray, talk about hilarious--I visited your site and chortled in glee. Cats are superior beings, at least in my world...
    14 and counting, November in S. Cal sounds great--and I hope you were spared from the terrible fires in that area. and fourteen grandchildren--wow! congrats, and happy birthday coming soon. :-)

  38. Lovely post on November, I also enjoy your cat pictures and like to hear about them. Why is Niblets a tripod now? Best to you!

  39. yeah, i think november is a rather unpredictable month. there were years when i thought it was fantastic while in some years it simply passed by. i love the pictures you took and they really complemented your ideas! well done!

  40. I like November in Barbados for we feast on our national dishes as we celebrate our National Independence Day (November 30)



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