Carola chose this week’s word. My first thought was a poem by Thomas Hood:
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! –
And yes, there have been a lot of days like that recently – leaden grey skies, rain pelting at you sideways, wet mists that lurk about all day and never clear, bitter winds that seem to follow you indoors. I have watched the effects of the rain and frosts on the garden (and actually, that I don’t mind so much because the weeds are dying too…). November can sometimes feel like a waiting room between the crisp glories of autumn proper and the cosy festivities of Christmas, especially if it’s wet and windy.
But there are nice days, with weak sunshine filtering through the remaining leaves on the trees. And those days feel like gifts. And when it’s raining and miserable out, I don’t mind being buried, mole-like, at my desk. I don’t feel I’m missing anything; whereas I really resent my work on sunny summer days! And the cosy evenings spent by the fire, with a good film, family, sometimes friends, my knitting and the cats are just lovely.
And as I write this, it occurs to me that this is really what November has come to mean for me. When (as Mr Hood would tell you) outdoors is so often unhospitable, the home really comes into its own. It becomes a shelter from the elements – I’m glad to cross the threshold if I’m escaping the rain or the chill – but it also becomes the centre of the world for a little bit. My house is very old – the newest bits were added in 1806 and people have farmed the site since at least the twelfth century. I have felt for a while that living here – on an old farm in the middle of nowhere – has brought me more in tune with the passing of the seasons, because they really matter here. And as I plan the remainder of my Christmas knitting, make paper snowflakes with the Little Girl, and work out when I’m going to make my Christmas cake, what I’m actually doing is what all the women who’ve lived in my house have done every winter – shifting my concentration inwards, to the home, the hearth, the family. Spring and summer sent us outside – holidays, gardening, long evening walks, days out – and November brings us home.
Go and see Carola to find out who else has posted this week!