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November and the Ninth Wave

“November retained its name (from the Latin novem meaning “nine”) when January and February were added to the Roman calendar.” – Wikipedia

And there it is: November. I’ve wondered about October before. I mean, “octo” is eight yet October was the tenth month. I hadn’t thought much about the origin of November until I stared at the November 1 on my calendar a beat longer than normal. And so here we are, with “novem” forever associated with nine for me. (novem ≠ 11, novem = 9, but November is the 11th month so deal with it. Don’t even get me started on December). We learn through association. Those Romans forever shaped the minutia of our world…

November has always had a special place in my heart, for in the Northern Hemisphere its the month of quiet walks on crunchy fallen leaves, when the world opens up to reveal all that was hidden previously by foliage. In the United States November is associated with Thanksgiving, the very best of holidays (at least in my family) because it’s only about giving thanks together with family and friends. There are November birthdays of note in the family, and personally, one very notable anniversary coming up in a few days to punctuate the importance of the month in this household.

And then there’s the election. Every four years in the United States we have the national election to choose our President. The “first Tuesday after the first Monday” of November was chosen and made into law in 1845 “to establish a uniform time for holding elections for electors of President and Vice President in all the States of the Union.” So Election Day can never be held on November 1, since it must follow the first Monday (unless the law is changed of course).

This year has been relentlessly charging along, both rapid in the spinning of days and painfully slow in getting it all over with. Nobody who loves life wishes away time, but we all wish away the current situation we find ourselves in. November marks the moment when we vote and either validate the current administration or reject it wholeheartedly and install new leadership. I know where my vote goes. Choose wisely with your own vote, fellow citizens.

In sailing the ninth wave in succession is the largest. It’s the one that might sink the ship and drown the crew. I reflect back on the stunning masterpiece Ninth Wave by Ivan Aivazovsky that I was blessed to see once in my lifetime. The Ninth Wave offers a glimmer of hope for those clinging to the mast in a raging sea. The sun is rising through the storm, marking a turning point of sorts. Danger remains all around and there’s no guarantee of survival, but again, there’s hope. And that’s what I think about on this first day of November. November (novem), marks the turning of the seasons towards winter. Change is coming. We all know it, and now we all face it. With hope.

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