I hate November.
In November, the leaves have fallen from the trees. October brings brilliance, with red, gold, and orange splashed along the tree lined streets of the city, and painting the hillsides of rural byways. The color is gone in November, replaced by the dull gray of barren limbs.
In November, it is cold. There is no snow, though, so it is not fun cold. Our bodies have not yet adjusted to the season, so the cold is colder now than it will be in December. It’s just bone-chilling cold.
In November, high school sports, that purest of athletic endeavors, is in hibernation. High school basketball season has not yet begun. Football season has ended for all but the very best schools in the state that made it to the playoffs. Even for those lucky enough to take part in a championship series, it is so cold that the enjoyment of the game is overshadowed by numb toes, chattering teeth, and runny noses.
In November, we do not see the sun. In much of the northern hemisphere, November is the cloudiest month. Even though the days are nominally longer in November than in December, we actually see less sun in the eleventh month.
November is gray, cold and boring. I hate November.
I love November.
In November, it is OK to indulge in sweets and candies. We wake up on the first day of the month with a stash of goodies handed out to small ghosts and goblins and monsters and warriors and cute little princesses the night before. What a nice way to start the month!
In November we have mountains of leaves producing the heartwarming and therapeutic laughter of children as they lunge fearlessly into the piles, afterwards their smiling faces and rumpled clothing bedecked in jewels of orange maple and golden birch and red oak.
In November we light the fire in the living room fireplace. The fragrant apple, maple, and oak wood conjure vague recollections of family gatherings from another time, when we were secure in the warmth of our parents' home. The fireplace becomes a new gathering spot for your own children, with long straight wires made of old clothes hangers finding new utility holding marshmallows over the glowing embers. Later, after the children have gone to bed, the fire takes on a new role, one of romance, as you and your lover sit quietly, enjoying the fire’s warmth that is reflected in the eyes of the one beside you.
In November we celebrate the purest of holidays, the one not yet corrupted by commercial greed or cartoonish symbolism. Thanksgiving is the time we strive to remember the good that surrounds us, instead of the pettiness and the drudgery. Thanksgiving is a more intimate holiday, without the glitz and parties that make the holiday after it so stressful. Thanksgiving has not been politicized like that other holiday, either. It does not provide fodder for boycotts; there is no mention of a secular “War on Thanksgiving”. What Thanksgiving is, though, is the beginning of the season of charity, when we stop thinking of what we want for ourselves, and begin thinking of what we can give to others. It is the time when the family gathers together to ask the Lord’s blessings for the bounty we enjoy, for the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and above us lies.
November is the month of family and thanks. I love November.