the sky wraps me, it signals me, it tells me many things. in ways that never end, it is God’s billboard.
it holds up wonder. hints at danger ’round the bend. whispers: season’s changing, sun is moving on, world turns. shadow’s on its way.
it talks not just to me, it talks to many, many others.
all around, i see the others paying attention. i pay attention, too.
i find myself looking out of windows. looking up. i’m hiking here and there and everywhere, like a lady starved, trying to fill her belly. only what i’m hungry for is sky.
there is something particular about november sky that calls me much more often, much more insistently, than the summer months, or even spring.
november sky is haunting, is gray, is roiling when the winds whip, making froth of clouds. oh, dear Lord, there’s frappuccino up above. we cannot escape.
november sky is vast, is tinted with a wash of winter blue. there is more to see, because less is in the way. just the bare-boned architecture of the trees, stark, sharp against the canvas of the sky. sticks poking into clouds, or so it looks from far away, daring sky to burst.
the disrobing’s over now. it’s limb and bough and twisted trunk. a tree stands alone, telling its solitary story. no encumbrances, no leaves, no frills. just the bending, arching, reaching limbs, and whatever’s fallen too.
we see it all now. we teeter here on the precipice between the autumn and the winter. not yet snow sky, but i get the sense it’s coming any day.
i could watch all day. watch the birds watch the sky. watch the squirrels too. how they know which days to scurry to the feeder, gorge on seed, before the weather does what sky is saying.
the gray sky for me is one big knitted afghan. i draw it ‘round my shoulders. hunker down beneath november sky.
it is signal, mostly, that it’s time for one and all to go deep, pull in, be ready for the cold winds that will come. bulbs are buried. painted turtles sleep along the bank of the lagoon. even little sparrows, long past nesting, have been collecting bits of cloth, flitting off to somewhere where i think they’ve knitted their own afghan for the winter.
i too go deeper in these days. pull in. take my cues from sky. i, too, ready for the winter. put the gardens all to bed. tuck in plants in blankets made of leaves i didn’t rake. i haul out the soup pot. simmer beans and bones, whatever takes the long slow flame, offers up its essence over time, over hours that aren’t hurried. not at all.
but i go deep in other ways.
this is the season, starting now, for introversion. funny, then–odd, even–that it’s the season that the world claims for merriment. hmm. so maybe that’s why, sometimes, for some of us, it’s like climbing through molasses to go out and join the crowds.
maybe if we listened to the sky, we’d be more in keeping with the rhythms deep within.
i believe in seasons. and not because i’m the daughter of ecclesiastises. or the long-lost fourth of peter, paul and mary.
no, not that at all. i believe in seasons because i believe that Wisdom understood the ebb, the flow, the time to plant, the time to harvest under heaven.
and november sky, maybe more than any other sky, tells me things in notes i cannot, do not want, to miss.
wrap up. take shelter. kindle lights in every window. brace for storms to come. feed yourself deeply.
this time, these days, are ripe for inner harvest. while the orchards all are sleeping, while the fields have gone to fallow, sift through the soils of your soul, i hear the sky say.
root around inside. see what’s ripe for picking now. take in wisdom. curl up and take it from the printed page. or lace up your boots, and listen to the forest. or the waves that won’t be stopped for cold. or the grasses of the meadow that can’t help but rustle to the song of winter’s-coming wind.
the grayer that the sky gets, the more i feel my heart beat. it is november, most of all, november almost gone, that stirs me, like a spoon inside the pot, for the broth i’ll sip for months to come.
the reverie of november, november now slipping in its final hours. do you find your soul stirred too, like the jostling building clouds that crowd the sky? do you find this the start of your deepest months? what of the party schedule that demands a mood that might not be in keeping with the call of sky to hunker down? or is it that the dark of deepest winter demands we kindle flame? what of the flame we carry deep within? what if it’s the one we tend in the weeks to come?
I love your words and images about the November sky. I do love this time of year, not because the radio station has played Christmas music for more than a month now, but I love it for the longing of it all. Like a child who longs for days away from school to play in the snowbanks, to take out all of the ornaments that are kept at the back of the closet and and yes the surprises under the tree and in the stockings.It’s not just the packaged ideas of Christmas that I long for right now, it is the days where the darkness bids me to go inside a little bit earlier. It’s the sun shining through the smoke coming out of chimmneys and catches flight with the passing gusts of wind. It is wool sweaters, towels warmed on radiators, the hope for snow. Yes, this is the divine introvert season if one can find it beneath the noise and events of the coming month. My ideal December would be to send out invitations to friends to bring their knitting, their books and crossword puzzles. Come sit in my living room and I’ll make you a cup of tea. We can hug and talk while the water is boiling, but after that, let’s just sit and read or be together in silence. I may even put on some soft music, jazz on some nights, bach cello concertos on another night. Thank you for sharing the shadow side of this season, the one of retreating. It is not a side to be feared, but one that asks that we take a deep breath before entering.
an echo is the sound of your deepest voice coming back at you…….bless you, slj, for being my echo.
slj, sign me up for such a night. I’m working on the ungainliest and most ill-shapen crocheted afghan in the world–been doing so for two years now. Of course, you can only work on these things in the winter. One simply cannot work on a nutmeg-colored double-yarn afghan when one does not want such a thing draped over herself entirely.Your words this day make me think, bam, of that wonderful book To Dance With God by Gertrude Muller Nelson. She writes so wisely of the season of Advent–it is a time of turning inward, of darkness, of waiting, of quiet. Not of spectacle and extroversion and mandatory merriment. Although I do understand, I think, and appreciate what all that is about: all that brightness is maybe an attempt to block out the darkness and cold, to bar the door against it, to shut out the opportunity now given us to go within and be quiet. For there is something frightening about that too. It can be a little threatening to welcome the early darkness, the quiet, the barren trees and landscape. It is maybe frightening to embrace silence, to accept this seasonal dying and shutting down. This Novemberness you write of may not be to everyone that place of peace where, ultimately, we meet the divine.