There’s been so little light in this month. A low beam of sunshine spread across the fireplace mantle the other day; I thought it was a good sign that I noticed. And that I stopped for it. Ordinarily, November light is the best lighting for my house. With the weak sun low on the southern horizon, light slides in under the porch roof and spills all over the living room. If I’m in the proper state, I can easily spend an hour being enchanted at what it illuminates–even the dust motes that float in the air.
After keeping my head down this past week, I went for an afternoon walk through the Village yesterday. Already, at 3:30, the cars had their headlights turned on. It was blustery, spitting a bit of rain mixed with snow, but I had on one of my many wool hats and mittens and appropriate rain gear. At the cottages next to the one-lane bridge, I spotted the same yellow rose, tinged in pink, that I photographed in September and again in October. Probably, it’s final day alive. Wood smoke filled the air, and evergreen boughs were piled high on the doorsteps of the shops, in preparation for the community decorating event on Saturday. I walked up behind the schools, to the steep steps which lead to the football stadium. Surely, there can be no better view at a high school football game than looking out to Flathead Lake from high a top that ridge. There was an enormous buck with a tall rack, nestled under the low branches of a Spruce tree. He looked down over the Village as if he was protecting it. Two middle schoolers, in shorts, were shooting baskets in the deepening darkness, and lights were going off inside the classrooms. Lamps started glowing in the houses along the bay and sprinkled into the water. It was time to go home and light my own candles in the living room.
We are off to California to share Thanksgiving with Sarah and Nick and Val and Mark and Norah and Cormac and Eamon. Just writing all their names fills me with thanksgiving. We all know that feeling grateful is the finest antidote for any of our woes. In my favorite guidebook, Consolations, David Whyte talks about gratitude in the loveliest way:
“Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously, part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporary pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape. To see the full miraculous essentiality of the color blue is to be grateful with no necessity for a word of thanks.”