My daughter’s birthday month got off to an early start when she received her birthday card from the Green Bay Packers on October 31. Finally, an organization that appreciates November with the same enthusiasm as my daughter!
Typically we don’t get excited about November. It’s that brown month between the captivating color change and crisp fall air of October and the lights, tinsel and snow of December. The harvest is in. The fields are barren; the birds have migrated, and the snow has not yet covered the earth in its white winter blanket.
November is the month of naked trees, early nightfall, and frosty mornings. It’s monochromatic. In the United States, the even the major holiday in November, Thanksgiving, is primarily black, white and brown—harkening to pilgrims, turkeys, and a harvest brought in.
At first glance it is a plain month, a quiet month, a slow month.
And in our society we are not comfortable with plain, quiet and slow.
So we rush headlong from October to December with our “Happy HalloThankMas Clearance Sales”. Artificial Christmas trees are on sale on All Saints Day, before the Halloween displays can even be taken down. Christmas baked goods are in the stores before the turkeys can be thawed.
So often adults complain about the inability of small children to sit still and be quiet. But we are just as bad. We are so unable to slow down, that we don’t even notice November. We do everything we can to stay busy, and ignore the simple, plaintive brown call of November to slow down, be quiet and listen.
Maybe you pray. Maybe you meditate. Maybe you sit and think. But you are still. You are quiet.
You might spend time with loved ones, around a table eating a meal, in a kitchen peeling potatoes, or in a living room watching a football game. Maybe you work in a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen or an orphanage. But you slow down and you spend quality time with other people.
That is what November calls us to do. There is no money to be made. No corporate ladder to climb. No social status to claim. Just time to be quiet and genuine and real. Time to slow down and recharge and prepare for the long winter and the awakening in spring.
November, a glorious month that allows us to be ourselves without show or pretense—simple and unadorned. Oh that we could spend more time here.
© 2015 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.