Have you ever noticed the grim way some writers describe the month of November?
Joseph Addison wrote this: “The gloomy months of November, when people of England hang and drown themselves.” (I double checked, and the word “months” is indeed plural, as if November seems to go on and on, which might explain the hanging and drowning, or maybe it refers to Addison’s interpretation over many years. Whichever it is, I apologize to the people of England; remember, I am only the messenger.)
Emily Dickinson describes November this way: “November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.” (I used to teach Dickinson in my English classes, and I don’t recall her writing that July is the Sahara of the year, or making any other month/place comparisons…only November.)
My mother’s writing is not well known–and at this point in her dementia, even she doesn’t recognize her own words when I read them aloud to her–but I’d like to share with you a few of her descriptions of November. I found these typed and handwritten examples stored in her writing box.
The windblown sleet darts ~ Like tiny ice bullets ~ Against my window pane.
Wee button noses ~ Beneath eyes of wide wonder ~ Smudge frosty windows.
And these last two, titled 1 and 2, were followed by a question: which one is better? If you have a preference or comment, I’ll read them to Mom during my next trip to Kansas…and remind her again that these are her words and Haikus.
#1: Spruce draped in snow-fall ~ Stand silent cold sentinels ~ Against threat’ning skies.
#2: Trees clothed in snow-fall ~ Are strong sentinels guarding ~ Against steel grey skies.
Both of my parents thought that each day had its own beauty, and each month had its own importance and possibility. For my mother, summer months were for planting and gardening; fall and winter months were for knitting and baking; spring months were for hoping and watching new growth. She believed every season was a gift, and all the seasons deserved heartfelt anticipation…and at least a few words of notice and appreciation penned in her notebooks.