If the title of this post seems like an oxymoron to you, I’m not surprised. I have a long(ish) and difficult relationship with the month of November. It’s always seemed to me like the most depressing, grey, cold, lifeless month of the year. On the other hand, my dear father, who died in 2011, was born on the 30th of this month, for which I always pitied him when I was a child. He missed being born in the best month of the year (coincidentally, my birthday month) by just one day! Even as I grew older, I thought having your birthday in November must be a big bummer. Every year I simply endured it until it was over and we could put up lights and start planning for Christmas.
This year something different happened. I was walking my dog, Monty, down our street, thinking about how dreary everything looked, when I spotted something I hadn’t noticed before; a slender birch tree with yellow leaves still attached, highlighted against the grey stone house behind it. The waning mid-afternoon light hit that tree just right to set it off beautifully. It suddenly struck me that despite all the grey, there might still be some beauty to be found in this awful month. I feel the need of it particularly this year because of recent horrific events in Europe and the Middle-East, which I won’t describe since you’re all aware of them. I decided to spend a similar afternoon, with the light waning just as it was that day, taking pictures to record the beauty to be found if one looked hard enough.
Today, Mother Nature has given us another beautiful, sunny, windy day, with a hint of coming snow in the air and I’m trying to appreciate this pre-winter period instead of dwelling on its usual grey ugliness. Yes, it’s the first thing I’ll always associate with November, but maybe from now on I’ll keep an eye out for traces of lingering beauty as well.