Back home, it is good to walk slowly on the grass by the river. It is spongy and still green, though the rushes are browning and the cattails are bursting at the seams. It is good to breathe deeply, and feel small under this crisp blue dome. It is good to lay my hands on the trunk of the sugar maple sapling, and know that though its leaves have fallen, it has already gone to work on buds for spring. It does not sleep without hope. Indeed, it rests to be renewed. It doesn’t fight the season God has ordained, but lays its summer foliage on autumn’s altar with a graceful flourish.
November lays us bare. November shows our bones for what they truly are. I could look for ways to hide, for a blanket to cover the awkward brown between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But there is something comforting after all about being seen. Not by crowds of camera wielding tourists, but by the sun and the spruces and the birds that stay behind. There’s no need to dress up, to make up, to put my best foot forward.
It’s enough to walk beside the naked trees, and feel my own frailty, and shed a tear for the October that will never be again. I finger the tightly furled buds and marvel that they dare show even a hint of promise, knowing what storms the winter will bring.
November lays us bare, but there is a kindness in its honesty. Simply be, the willows whisper, in all your barren bones and audacious hope. It is good. It is well.