Contrary to popular opinion, November is my favorite month.
November is the anniversary of my birth, a day I celebrate with enthusiasm, because the alternative sucks, and each year of my life I grow wiser and more relaxed. Age is a good thing.
November is the month of Thanksgiving, a time focused on family and gratitude, two of my favorite things. It is a holiday unburdened by candy begging, gifting obligations, kissing requirements, religious guilt or fiery explosions. And I am lucky; my family likes each other.
November in Northern California is relatively warm. I won’t taunt the east-coasters by naming the temperature today. But the air does cool off, we are finally through the Indian summer heat and the crazy first months of school. The kids are learning their letters, and I can teach them about the importance of family and thankfulness. My neighborhood streets are lined with trees turning scarlet (I’m sure the trees were chosen for just that reason). Summer haze and smog are gone and the sun shines a bit too brightly, but that’s what sunglasses are for. Apples are ripe on the trees in my yard; there are tarts and pies to be made. It is a time of shift and change; of settling in and settling down. A time when it’s okay to put on a few pounds in preparation for winter.
The co-opting of the season by frightening images of death and gore are over, leaving me with colorful, ever changing foliage and the harvest of root vegetables. The starkness of winter has not yet set in and it is time to begin the tucking-in process. Gather the firewood; stock the shelves with hearty soup and bread, haul the comforters out of the closet. I look forward to days when one of the few activities available is curling up with a good book, and reading becomes a priority. Darn, it’ll be too cold/dark/wet to exercise, guess I’ll just read. I have not yet entered the crazies of the “holidays.” And as I grow older, I’ve simplified them anyway, so they no longer daunt me. The cold dim days of winter have not yet appeared, and the winter funk has not arrived. It is a time to be savored.