Radiators humming, dark mornings, fires at night, and the very odd and unexpected—yes, believe it or not—tornado in England, that’s my November. Who likes the eleventh month of the year, the eleventh hour? Perhaps that’s why Thanksgiving was earmarked by those hardy North American survivalists for late November, considered the dullest time of all?
I like November. I think I’d like it even more if the clocks didn’t go back. I like a pitch-black morning, rising before what is considered the dawn. I like waking before the birds and having an extended evening with more light. However, saying that, I have no recourse to international clocks, moving time backwards or forwards. I like the eleventh hour. I always have.
I like things arriving almost too late, in a hold-your-breath quiet, a paralyzed stillness before the last-minute rescue, when the hoped-for solution arrives poised, unhurried, like the inevitable: a sparkly December, with its year-end accountability.
I like the dark of creativity, the need to be still, quiet, to gestate, dive deep, the point after research when, logical or not, pieces synthesize and come together in ways preconceived or not: intuition. Ideas come to mind, like a child in the womb, all the work, the growing, going on unseen but sure.
November is that time when the squirrels and other creatures—dare I say mice—come inside, to nest, to rest, to wait until spring, to regenerate. I was aware of a small scurrying thing that was trying to nest in the eaves of my home, but I wasn’t having it, all that scratching and nest building disturbing my November. So happily, technology in the form of ultrasound moved it on. This modern method won out over mousetraps or even my switched-on Bengal, Presto, the infamous mouser who keeps every area he can reach free of everything from spiders, moths, squirrels and the like.
Nope, I need a quiet November to curl up, switch off, and let the year slow down. Then, just as easily as that, I find myself at the tail end of the month when it is time to emerge: to be grateful. Thanksgiving is a holiday I can never forget. It means more to me than gratitude. It means eleventh-hour miracles. I am deeply reminded of one November, Thanksgiving in 2003, when against all odds, on that last Thursday of the month, the 27th (this year it’s the 25th, if you need to know), I stood in a courthouse in Tallinn, Estonia, where the complete and full adoption of my then foster child was made known. My son became my own. It just happened to be his first birthday, as well as, yes, Thanksgiving Day. It was a perfect journey, a perfect eleventh month, a perfect ending to a very long eleventh hour.
The whole topic of motherhood at the eleventh hour is the theme of my third novel Mine. This work is being submitted now, and if you happen to know a publisher or agent who might just be interested, I am happy to send on the pitch letter, which has been making the rounds with some success. Another eleventh hour for this eleventh month? Who knows?
Most of the deep red leaves have now fallen, lining the tracks through the woods still sticky with mud, and while the trees aren’t entirely bare, even if some have been downed by racy high winds, I see clearly that thin steely yellow and blue sunset that hints of colder times. I burrow deep into November because out of it come all the joys and understanding of this year’s passage, plus for me wrapping up my research for novel number four and an outlining of its intricate plot, which always comes as a last-minute (pleasant) shock.
So here’s wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving, along with burrowing deep and at least one eleventh-hour, nick of time, longed-for surprise.
Photo by: iStock.com/SanderStock