The onset of November tends to make me cranky. Here in New England, I am forced to admit that not only is summer truly over, but we are moving swiftly through Fall. It is getting increasingly colder and it is just so… dark. Trees have changes from brilliant reds, yellows and golds to brown naked sticks. The only daylight happens while I’m at work. And as much as I enjoy the holidays, many of you out there start dancing around like Will Ferrell in his Elf suit, posting your cheerful countdowns on social media, filling the rest of us with stress and anxiety.
As much as I’d like to curl up in bed surrounded with books and chocolate like a bear hibernating in a cozy den, and emerge sometime in April when the days are once again getting longer and my garden starts sprouting, I can’t. I know, because I’ve tried. But someone always finds me and needs something, and if I want to keep my bed and my house, having an income is pretty important to my life.
Besides, as much as I may dread the cold months, I do love New England and don’t plan to move. So I need to stop complaining, use my coping skills, and look for silver linings – you know, be more like my obnoxiously happy summer self.
This morning I was removing the nail polish off my toes and doing a quick at-home pedi. And I thought: Helloooo, naked toes. Welcome back. Guess what? No need to replace the polish because it is socks and boots season. My fellow R.W’s in warm climates don’t get a time out. Year ‘round sandals means year ‘round cute toes. Hmmm…. a simple bonus, but the first bright spot on my mission to not hate November.
I moved on to my closet…I was sad to pack away my light and colorful summer wear, but there’s a lot to be said about clothing that tends to be a bit thicker, looser, and covers more skin. It’s a whole lot easier to hide menopausal pudge, plus as our complexion fades to pale, we can draw attention away from our bodies and to our cool tall boots or funky sweater. Sure, everything in the closet now is dark: grey, black and brown…but accessorizing just got easier too because it is the season for scarves. Ta da. Color and Comfort. Bonus.
Now about that dark topic. This is the hardest one for me… I have a sign in my kitchen window that reads “I was made for sunny days.” But I’m realizing now that expectations of evening activities are lower when it feels and looks like midnight by 7pm. No one thinks twice if we are in our jammies and “in for the night” within 30 minutes of getting home from work. Curling up with a good book or getting in to lounge mode for a good movie or trash tv is not only acceptable, it is assumed and recommended. The other night I had planned to tackle laundry or the ironing, or any number of various chores that I usually would jump into since it was too dark and chilly to do any yard work. Instead I spent two hours looking through catalogs, magazines, and watching TV. Highly unusual behavior on my part, but no one else saw any problem with it. So from time to time we can feel welcome to channel our inner sloths. Huh… another bonus.
Similar to our squirrel friends hoarding acorns, or the mama bear who eats her way into a stupor, it is also assumed that we will embrace this “comfort food” season. Over the weekend, I quickly threw together a lunch of a couple of cans of Campbell soup and simple grilled ham & cheese sandwiches, and my son was so happy you’d think it was a gourmet meal. I mean, he raved over the sandwiches. Funny how we crave the yummy, warm, fattening stuff as soon as the seasons change. It’s like my need to make bread and soups and baked goods kicks in and, well, I have to give in to the calling.
So I guess there are a few good things to make November, and the months ahead, more bearable. I realize, of course, that giving in to a couple of these on a regular basis could make me look like a bear. But hey, if I gain a few pounds, I’ve got my winter clothes to hide it, and if it gets harder to bend over to reach my feet, no big deal – I won’t need to paint them until spring. And hibernating bears always emerge eventually a few pounds lighter, right?
You see, I love this time of the year. The leaves are off the trees and the browns and grays allow us to see the bones of the earth. You can see the lines of the earth and undulations of the land in the woods and on the hillsides. I love those muted colors. I always thought if I had a cat with that quiet gray-brown coloring , I’d name it November. It’s the quiet between between the fanfare of October’s brilliant colors and the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season. The darkness is cozy andit always makes me smile at 4:30. That’s the time when the hill lights come on at Toggenburg and what wonderfully fond memories I have of skiing with my dad there. Yup, I love that in-between time. It’s good for my soul.
So beautifully said, Judy! Ok, you’ve made me feel better about this transition time. Except the dark at 4:30 thing, that part doesn’t make me smile. 🙂 Thanks for an awesome perspective!