November. Just as I've celebrated the putting-away of shorts and other warm-weather clothing, along comes a day with a high of seventy-eight. The sweaters will have to live one more day in the back of the closet.
October may still be my favorite month, but November runs a close second. Every year, as the leaves on the maples and the oaks begin their transition from green to technicolor, I mark a birthday and restart my mental calendar. October is a month of change. Of promise. November is a promise fulfilled; leaves radiant and fluttering, like so many sequins, before cascading down on vehicle and roadway like the snow that never seems to come south to Alabama.
Jeff says I've been laughing in my sleep lately. Neither of us know why. The sleeper cannot tell tales that even she does not remember from her dreams.
I like to think that I'm healing. I like to think that a busy, whirlwind autumn in Alabama is just what I've needed to make things right with myself, but the realistic part of me says that healing is as much a product of season and activity as it is the passage of time.
I noticed a few weeks ago that I'm starting to tell stories again. The gestures are starting to creep back into my tales. It's become easier to mention anecdotes including my father without fear of turning myself into a human watering pot or making my friends fear that I'm going to jump onto the depressive bandwagon of mourning again.
We curled up in the living room this morning, Jeff and I, watching 'China Beach' and listening to the sound of the wind howling down the chimney.
I am hoping for a winter this year, a real winter, something with snow and ice and excuses to make up another batch of homemade hot cocoa mix. Weather that will give me valid excuses to curl up with my knitting needles, bags of yarn, and the nearest available cat.
This morning I finished the current stage of my work in the reading room; October at work in my own house, I suppose. The old border is gone now, and the resulting blue stripes painted over. I hung new border in its place; the curtains no longer match, but I'll replace those later. I've left a large empty spot on the far wall for a quilted wall hanging that Heather is working on for me. (Heather, keep pestering me until I send you fundage for your expenses on this project. Forgetfulness should not be interpreted as ungraciousness on my part.)
This room needs three more shelves sanded, stained, and varnished for this room; I need to finish that section of the project before the weather grows too chilly to stain or varnish safely.
Even now, uncompleted, I find myself spending more time in the room than I ever expected. What was, for three years, nothing but a place to store boxes, has become a place of resource and comfort. Edmund agrees, cozying up on the back of the couch even while someone was visiting. In this photo you can't see that he's sitting almost directly behind Misty's head—unusual in a cat that trusts so few people that aren't me.
For November, I shall do what I do best: knit, mother, feed, love—and laugh. I may be quiet, but I will not be numb. There are card games to be played, birthdays to celebrate, holiday gatherings to plan, hockey games to see.
Outside, the leaves are using the breeze to make slow tacks to the ground. It's too warm for my favorite sweater, but it will be colder tomorrow. I'll make chicken stew this afternoon. The reading room is usable again, and I won't be spending most of today perched on a ladder, scraping off old wallpaper border.
Not bad, this life.