Sunday, November 1, 2009


And now November. Nature's annual festival of color has peaked and now the stars of the show lay about on the ground awaiting their final pickup. In the spectacular side show's wake is November. November. The first month with consistently chilly temperatures. The month of transition. Time changes. Trees change, exchanging their blanket of leaves for a skeleton against the sky. The sun sets earlier and earlier with each passing day. Nature begins her long sleep through the cold months of the coming winter.

We humans change, too. Our thoughts turn to indoor activities. We think of visiting others more often. Menus change from the lighter fare of summer to the heartier offerings of chilled autumn evenings. We become indoor creatures once again. Jackets replace tank tops and t-shirts. And the world continues to move onward, ever changing yet, somehow, always the same.

With the passing of Halloween and the advent of the first day of the month, we begin to look toward the horizon of time and see that the holidays loom ever closer. Thanksgiving now becomes a reality as menus are laid out and provisions for the coming feast are procured. Guest lists are made as the annual visit of grandpa and grandma is anticipated. There is a warm feeling in these preparations as this special holiday of November brings a feeling of familial warmth that other holidays don't seem to quite match. It is the time of the year that many begin reflecting on the year that is now nearly passed. In a real sense, it is the beginning of the yearly renewal of our spirit.

The seasons are mystical benchmarks of our lives. They are some of the only consistencies we ever experience in life and November leads the way from autumn to winter with a particular grace and style. There are no more warm, humid breezes to soothe us after a long hot day. Chill winds and cold rain are often the dominant natural forces we encounter and yet there is an unquestionable warmth to the month. There is a coziness that no other month conveys in quite the same way.

The month also marks the passing of our loved ones who may have left this life over the last twelve months. We remember them with fondness and a sense of emptiness and sadness. On the second day of the month, we mark their passing with the observation of All Souls Day. Then, nine days later, we salute those who have lost their lives and who presently serve their country with Veterans Day. On this day we stand in humble thanks for those who "gave their last full measure of devotion."

November prepares us in a relaxed way for the upcoming frenzy that we know as December. We rest in November knowing that the busy season of the year is only days away. Thanksgiving afternoon could be seen as the afternoon for a national nap as many a Thanksgiving turkey has been consumed and now, in living rooms across America, sleep descends on the populace. At the crack of dawn the very next day, many otherwise completely intelligent citizens arise out of a warm bed in order to get a good place in line at the local Wal-Mart for this year's hot Christmas gifts.

November. A quiet month if ever there was one. A time to pause between two seasons to look back and ahead. A time to adjust our daily lives once again as the patterns of our daily routine change to meet the decreasing amounts of sunlight. A time for contemplation and enjoyment of friends and family. A time of slowing down. And a time for all of us to be thankful!