Sensing November

November. Stick season in the northern hemisphere. The big reveal as the trees grudgingly go to sleep for winter. The weather begins to sort itself out, and we come to terms with what it brings us. For there’s no denying the seasons now.

As with everything in life, we reconcile ourselves to the changes and choose how we react. Snowbirds retreat to the comfort of the tropics while the rest of us add layers, peel them off, and add them back again based on the height of the sun and the strength of the breeze. For some of us, November brings up memories of family coming together. For others, it means escape. Some use it as an excuse to stop shaving, others to write in earnest. November is what we make of it.

When you think back on your lifetime, what comes to mind when you hear the sounds of November? Rustling leaves? Whistles and cheers at a football game? Relentless political attack ads? Laughter around the Thanksgiving table? Crackling fires and splitting wood? Shots fired deep in the woods at dawn? The furnace churning away in the background? November, of course, sounds like all of these things.

When you think of the smells of November, do you think of piled leaves decomposing or freshly split oak? Isn’t it more the aromas of the kitchen that dominate the senses this time of year? Roasting turkey and baking pies? Nutmeg and apple cider and eggnog? This month is a calorie-counter’s nightmare, and fresh off the Halloween candy no less! You can practically smell the waistline growing.

Pausing to reflect for a moment, you can also feel something else in the air. For November is associated with aging and decline. You can see it in the shorter days and beauty of the more glamorous days of September and October falling emphatically to the earth. We know what is coming, don’t we? It’s a gift, really, an opportunity to use this, our time, to do what must be done, say what must be said, and love one another while we can.

Whatever we feel this month, doesn’t it make sense to be fully aware of all it brings? These are days we’ll remember. The sights and sounds, smells and the very feel of November are upon us. Ready or not, we ought to make the most of this time.

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