Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blue November

"November always seemed to me the Norway of the year."
- Emily Dickinson

After a freak October snowstorm,

right before Halloween,

November has come to us wearing temperate winds and crisp blue skies.

When I look at all of this beauty, this achingly blue (is there such a thing?) sky and glorious sunny glints glancing off wave edges, I start sensing a worry, a lingering dread. Like how the wind has a bite to it now in November. Winter in Maine is so long, so terribly long and cold and snowy and I get very cave-like. I don't want to take Blueberry and Buttercup anywhere, dreading the bundling and freezing car and sneezing, coughing people everywhere. Part of me likes the cave, all cozy by the fire and deep into thick plummy novels. Part of me is afraid of the descent. To mix my poetry metaphors, I'm afraid of diving into the wreck of my boat of quiet hours. Because isn't that what we all do every spring? Step out of the cave and turn around and smash it to bits because we don't want to remember we ever lived there? The cave we had made so carefully, gathering things to adorn it, to make it habitable; our stores of food, books, cushions and quilts and long underwear and slippers and stacks of messy chopped wood for the fire and knitting needles and cocoa mugs and crayons and paper. Our caves filled with our hearts stiffened against the winter with sticking plaster, keeping out everything, forgetting to take things in. We want to destroy them. To crack them open like constrictive eggshells and step out into the sun, reborn. But now is the quiet descent into winter. Now is the time for fortifying our caves. For building our quiet boats that will take us through to the other side of winter.

The wild things are telling us to be quiet. Soon the balsam will be covered in snow. Soon the snow will hiss into the sea and freeze the tackle lines on the boats rocking at anchor. Soon the ice will cover the pond and seal the rocks to the edges as if securing its babies. This brief interlude of blue and gold will soon be lost to white white white freezing-knuckled-fist-clenched-fish-fleshed white....

Housebound with children amidst the white. This is what remains at the end of the descent.

And yet, here into this boat I willingly climb.

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