November Chill…

Today might have been the last day I walked barefoot through my yard and garden and I treasured every step. I love stolen moments. Summer appeared for the day, Indian Summer, I suppose, and while I clipped back my Russian Sage and pulled up the last of the Black Susans, I felt happy to the tips of my toes. The ground in November holds the chill quite well so I eagerly pulled up my socks when I found them. And while the sky threatened rain, and thunder sounded out even overhead, I decided to throw some tulips in the ground.

I usually toss in some daffodils to keep the deer at bay, but I forgot to buy them this year and now I’m wondering if my tulips can sleep until spring. I love planting bulbs each fall, knowing how wonderfully pink, red and yellow will look against the tender green shoots of late March. I had a deer walk up to my house and look in the window a few weeks back. Seriously! So I imagine they might be bold enough to rummage for the dainty tulips. I’ll know next spring. And…I still have more bulbs to plant…hyacinths and happy yellow daffodils, if I can find any.

I delight in wild November nights. The wind howls from all directions until she decides to blow straight down from the north. Then the chill seeps in through the door. I really should weatherstrip it; the hole is quite large. And I wear socks constantly. That’s why today brought a rare treat, a barefoot walk in the grass. I’m quite sure my neighbor thinks I’m eccentric. Barefoot, grabbing random weeds by the mailbox while I still had my glasses perched on my nose for who knows what reason. I waved hello as he tidied up his yard and I slightly envied his lack of trees. Just for a moment. His green grass with stripes going both ways looked so pristine and perfect. But not my yard! I adore trees and have many and they are shedding their leaves, but none of them have consulted the others, so their timing is off. Each tree picks a different week and I am at their mercy, so I’ll have to content myself with raking every week until December.

I just saw another flash of lightning! I feel so cozy in my home stocked full of blankets (I have five in the great room alone) and stacks of pillows. I’m lucky to be here writing to you with a roof overhead where I hear the rain, incessant and unremitting. We all knew the cold was coming. They’ve been saying it for days, but I think we wanted to enjoy this taste of Indian summer. Do you enjoy nights of wind rocking your house? So much that it takes a little bit to lull you to sleep? Do you like pulling on thick socks and sweaters? Making your home ready for Thanksgiving?

I have my sweet little pilgrims and a magazine from 1930 portending November in all her temperamental ways. Are you plotting out the menu for that special Thursday? I used to live close to all my family and recall very long tables that made an L shape, and I enjoyed the “kids'” table very much. We didn’t have to mind our manners quite as much since we were in the part of the room where the table turned sideways. The following year they pulled me up to the big table and my cousins made faces at me, while I ate properly and with decorum. I’ll have a small Thanksgiving. Always do. But I go full in for the whole meal. Everyone is allowed to choose one food they absolutely want, and then I set about to make it happen. We have sweetened yams with marshmallow and brown sugar (oh, you clean eaters are rolling your eyes, right?!) and then I prepare plain old sweet potatoes, mashed with some butter and salt and a dash of cinnamon. Mmmmm.

I imagine you spending the day having a Friendsgiving or being able to swing through two Thanksgivings. I once spent Thanksgiving Day serving meals to others who needed a meal and some companionship, and I laughed and shared food and swapped stories with an elderly couple who didn’t have family. Don’t you wish we could reach out and bring in anyone who wants to eat that green bean casserole and mashed potatoes with lumps in it (I refuse to use a mixer, I will always mash by hand)? Being far from my family makes me wistful and longing for the old days, long past, but I have my family here. So I content myself with gathering together in Ohio, and my brood is expanding.  We will remain here as always.

My son just traipsed in for a late night snack. I think I’m going to join him. I have been known to whip up a batch of cookies at midnight! Why not? But this temperamental November night calls for pumpkin bread. I know the recipe by heart. And then we get to lick the bowl, eat the bread, fresh from the hot oven with butter melting down the sides, and yum! breakfast too. So now you know some things that bring me happiness and I wonder if they make you feel wonderful too. Thunderstorms that take their time arriving and stay awhile, getting your hands in the dirt in a garden, cozy socks for chilly floors and pumpkin bread or any autumn treat.

I hope you find a measure of happiness today. I’ve actually had a tough week. That’s why I didn’t post for a bit. I didn’t have happiness to share with you and then I gathered myself up and went to church. And yes…my view changed and I feel more like myself again. I need these moments of happiness scattered across my days, weeks, my life. You do too. We need to grab onto the good and let go of the bad, if we can. Or get a better perspective of the bad, because there will be times that test us all. So find your happy place. I’m hoping you have a week of stolen moments and even hours of peace, and yes, happiness.

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