November

The One Beach Picture-2013 001

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil
~Gerard Manley Hopkins
 November wasn’t always my favorite month.
One of the great sorrows of my childhood, after being born on a Wednesday (because Wednesday’s child is full of woe, while apparently everyone else’s day of the week guaranteed they’d turn out beautiful, hardworking, graceful, full of potential, generous, or all-around perfect) was being born in November. November gets short shrift. While all my friends had gorgeous green, blue, and rose-colored birthstones with poetic names, and lovely birth flowers, November and I got everything brown–topaz (which as far as I can determine rhymes only with “Boaz”) and chrysanthemums. By November, most of the trees have shed their autumnal glory and are brown, too. As if that weren’t enough, November had claimed me irrevocably as her own, marking me with brown hair and brown eyes as her very own brown property.
Still, I was stubbornly loyal to November, in the same way that you’re loyal to a dog that is so ugly no one else loves it but not ugly enough to be so ugly that it’s cute. It wasn’t until adulthood that I learned to appreciate November.
Today is a perfect crystallization of Novemberness. The day has been overcast and spitting rain, with the occasional burst of sunlight through the clouds. I watched the rain and the sunlight with equal pleasure. But I am a true November child, and so it wasn’t until the sun disappeared and the wind picked up again that I hurried outside to take a walk.
Sunny days are beautiful, but there’s something about a November day when you’re not sure if the sun’s about to come out, or if the skies are going to open up and dump all their chilly contents on your head. In my contrary November mind, this constitutes a perfect day for walking.
Rainy days are more colorful than sunny ones. There’s something achingly vivid about the crackle of the last bright yellow leaves against a grey sky and a tangle of limbs dark with rain. A walk on a blustery day is perfect. The wind chills your ears and tangles your hair, and if you have too-long sleeves to fist around your hands and oolong tea awaiting your return, there could be nothing better in all the world. And when, for just a few moments, the bleary-eyed sun bursts through the clouds, it looks like heaven, and there’s no way to express it other than that and you know it’s cheesy and trite but that is what it is–heaven, for a few pure and perfect moments shining down on the blustery, messy, rain-spattered earth.
It’s been a very Novemberish November, full of rain and light, unprepared-for cold and unlooked-for warmth. It’s National Novel Writing Month–HUZZAH!–and so there are all the ups and downs that go with that. The manuscript submissions process is another roller coaster. I have never before in my life checked email or leapt to answer the phone with such a level of neurotic anticipation and terror. I wrote a blog post I was really excited about a couple of days ago and actually got ahead with my blogging, and the computer ate it. Gone. Without a trace. And I haven’t mustered up the strength to tackle the subject again. My two gorgeous and insane children are tearing through the house, shooting each other with–something or other–and yelling that they are buccaneers, and I am trying to finish this post without someone slamming into me and scalding me with hot oolong.
Life is so full. The world is so full. November is full–of promise and possibility, endings and beginnings, sunshine and rain. And as long as it does not also include a lapful of oolong, I am happy.
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