11.05.13  How did it get here so fast!  Somehow I thought I had so many more golden October days to soak up.  We left for Halloween in Billings, all those leaves swirling down their sidewalks, and came back home to the frozen purple mums in my kitchen window box, wind and rain and snow squalls.  I really wasn’t prepared.  My kayak still rests at water’s edge and cabana-striped cushions are left on chairs at the beach.  I truly thought there would be more Fall to savor.  I wasn’t ready to turn the page on the calendar to November.

November.  The Big Gray Cloud moves in with the new weather pattern.  I’ve often described it as a gigantic mushroom cap which covers the valley and hovers over the lake.  Like a permanent inversion.  When it’s really bad and lingering, people escape by driving up to the ski areas on the surrounding mountains to rise above it into sunshine and a bit of blue sky.  It honestly can be here for weeks and weeks without a break.  Freezing fog.  Rain on top of snow.  No light at all.

In truth, we’ve all said the Big Gray Cloud hasn’t been so bad the last couple of years.  But, all it takes is this sharp end to October to feel a little doomed.  The last neighbor to go south pulled out a few days before Halloween, leaving us alone in the woods.  The Daylight Savings Time change happened this past week-end, and while the darkness is lighter earlier in the mornings, I’m stunned at how dark it is now at the end of the day.  Just as my eyes need some time to adjust when coming from the light into the dark, I can tell I need a little time to prepare myself.

I had a hair appointment in town yesterday and when I got in my car at 4:15 to drive home, all the cars had their lights turned on.  Kids walking home from school were scurrying through the wet leaves and it seemed we were all in a rush to get to safety before darkness descended completely upon us.  It felt so good to finally come through my door, switch on the heat and lights, and turn on the radio to the news for a little company.

Before all became black outside, the sun, as it so often does,  managed to slip between the clouds and dazzle me with precious light.  I remembered how much I love the blue hour this time of year after sunset, and lighting the votive candles throughout the living room for the evening.   And the smell of turkey in the oven at Thanksgiving, and my stained glass window with little fairy lights.  And how I always light a candle each dark morning in December.  It just takes a bit of time to adjust.

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