Monday, November 2, 2015

Yes, November!

With the start of November, my thoughts (strangely enough) turn to the work of an English poet of the early Victorian era -- Thomas Hood -- and particularly to this one work of his:

No sun --- no moon!

No morn -- no noon --

No dawn -- no dusk -- no proper time of day --

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,

No comfortable feel in any member --

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds!


Somewhat differing versions of this appear online, but they all offer a nihilistic perspective on November -- an uninterrupted chorus of noooooooos.

When I first stumbled upon this poem years ago, I was inclined to take it personally, given that I am a November baby and so regard the 11th month (complete with the Armistice at the 11th minute, of the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month) to be entirely wonderful, especially when served wth cake and ice cream. On the 11th day of this November, I will reach the three-fourths of a century mark, the Good Lord willing, with a mended heart that is a little larger than my doctors like -- but since when is being big-hearted all bad?

The more I have read about Thomas Hood, the more I have softened my view. After all, he was a resident of fog-filled London where the chill of November was a harbinger of a perfectly horrid winter.

It is likely that denizens of Chicago feel the same way about November (although they might change their perspective tonight if their Cubs win Game Seven of the ultimate underdogs'  (Cubs v. Indians) World Series -- thereby becoming champs for the first time since 1908. I am pulling for the Indians because my son's catcher when Bobby was a championship-winning pitcher for Old Dominion University is now a hitting coach for Cleveland. Matt Quatraro is his name and he is an exemplary leader whom I predict will manage a major-league team some day. Go Tribe!)

But I digress.

Hood also loved to make puns and also was fond of playing practical jokes. He was ill pretty often during his life, which ended at age 45, so if his wit tended to the acerbic at times, that would have been understandable.

Dasher and Ellie Love Sunrises on Carolina Beaches
Still, I am grateful for his NOvember, because it makes me think of the many ways I give November a big yes.

Yes to its moon shining through the Carolina pines. Yes to the softer sunlight coming from a less direct point and therefore frying us not so much.

Yes to the most glorious sunrises and sunsets over the inlets and marshes and the ocean itself that could be seen anywhere this side of Heaven. Our dawgs love to romp in the surf at daybreak.

Yes to the cool, crisp days just made for long walks besides the lakes or on the beach or along a mountain trail.

Yes to butterflies and flowers -- I saw a multicolored butterfly on my still-blooming Lantana this very day.

Yes to the birds including the many of varied species that are stopping by on their way to their winter retreats.

Yes to fall festivals, hot chocolate, the beginning of sweater weather, and the start of Christmas shows.

When we get around to giving thanks on the 24th, November will be one of the many blessings for which I am grateful.

                                         © Robert G. Holland  2016

(Updated from my November 2, 2015 blogpost)

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