Saturday, November 1, 2008

And now, November

All down through literary time, poets have turned to the seasons of the year as the perfect metaphor for life. Who could blame them? With innocent lambs frolicking in new green meadows, what could Springtime be but a crystalline illustration of youth? The juicy ripe abundance that is Summer is such an obvious representation of mankind at the peak of his power, it seems almost prosaic to draw the parallel. And now, November...when the clocks are turned back and the days become shorter. If one follows the poet’s well-trod path, this is to be a month of gathering in, of reaping what has been sown, of thoughtful contemplation of what has gone before and preparation for the colder days to come. I have always considered November the more serious of all the months; when conclusions are drawn, decisions are made and, if one is fortunate, contentment settles round the bones like down. It seems much more temperate of spirit than May or September, certainly. It is fitting, therefore, that we as a country make a most momentous choice every four years in November. Fitting also, that at the end of this reflective month, we observe a day of Thanksgiving for the gift of the year past.

No matter what month we happen to be in as we move through our year, November is always there, on everyone’s calendar, with his hands folded under his chin, patiently awaiting our arrival. In all the days of all our months may we endeavor to sow kindness and compassion so that we may reap contentment, thoughtfulness and tolerance so that we may reap wisdom, and love so that we may reap more love.
And may this November be a thankful one indeed.
I for one am thankful for this amazing poem from my favorite poet,
Mary Oliver.

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Painting Above by Atkinson Grimshaw