Monday, November 13, 2017

Oh, November

Three years and four months in London, and sometimes I still can't believe that we managed to move here, that we live here, that our everyday lives are lived out in this old city. November is my favorite month and has been in every city I've lived in except for San Francisco. November didn't feel special in San Francisco the way it does where autumn is a real thing. Here, November means leaves still changing and falling, and the sun setting ridiculously early, and grey days that are somehow comforting.

The photo above was taken at 10:30am on a Saturday. It looks a bit like evening, but it was morning, and it was just about perfect. I was wearing a coat and gloves and a thick scarf, and I felt comfortable and at peace. November is beautiful to me.

I wonder sometimes how much my love of November has to do with my date of birth - I was born at the end of November, destined to share my birthday with Thanksgiving every time it landed on a Thursday, for as long as I lived in the USA. But that was more a curse than a blessing, and if I'm speaking honestly, (and I intend to, this time at least), I would say not a blessing at all. I think that I love November despite the ubiquitousness of turkey and pumpkin desserts and small disappointments that have somehow come my way more birthdays than not. November is the soothing balm to that one day that often gets a bit lost in the midst of all the other special days.

So give me all the long walks and hot cups of coffee in my gloved hands. Bring me the early darkness and the soup on the stove and the long mornings reading in the soft autumn light that filters through our front windows. Let me breathe deep the crisp air. November will be gone all too soon.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Favorite Time of Year

Autumn is in full swing, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me. And also a little bit confused, as we turned our clocks back and now find it getting dark at 4:30pm. On Friday, after Teddy's birthday party was over and friends had departed, I got to work on making cookies for a potluck we were attending Saturday night, and I thought I was terribly behind. Finding the kitchen quite dim, I entered into a light state of panic, thinking it was surely time to make dinner already. Then I looked at the clock, and it said 16:33. I wasn't behind at all, possibly even a bit ahead of schedule.


I am really loving wearing a jacket every time I leave the house, and I adore that everyone is naturally sleeping a bit later, then wanting to get cozy on the sofa as dark descends in the afternoon. This is the balance to those bright days in which everyone wakes early and runs riot in the playground. Spring and summer have their own delights, but autumn is quiet and soft and altogether lovely. The leaves crunch beneath our feet as we walk home from evening classes and lessons, and our porch light beckons to us, "Come in! It's warm inside!" Is there anything better than feeling a bit of a chill and walking into a warm house? I'm not sure there is.

Here, the shops are already fully given over to Christmas. We might give Thanksgiving a cursory nod, but each year the children get a little less excited by the prospect of turkey and homemade cranberry sauce, and I won't be sad if we let the holiday go altogether. There is still plenty of room for gratitude in a season that brings us vibrant colors and allows us to sip hot chocolate without sweating at the same time. I am thankful for that, among other things.

Mostly, I am thankful to have passed this year and made it through on the other side. A year ago we had to cancel a trip we very much wanted to make to where are our girls are from. We hastily planned a trip to the USA in order to make good use of the time J already had off work. Our time there was good and productive, but it was very much a working sort of trip, with lots of tasks to check off our list. We rescheduled the trip we were meant to make in November for April, and that undertaking was daunting to say the least. I am still proud of all four of us for what we accomplished then, making connections that needed to be made and somehow staying the course when we really didn't feel like it.

And then Z went to camp, and we moved house, and we went on a trip that was supposed to be relaxing but included an ambulance ride for E and a restriction on water play - not exactly convenient for a beach holiday. At this point, we are all happy to be home, to have a normal schedule, to enjoy this season. We may not celebrate Thanksgiving, but we sure are thankful.