November is my favorite month — it is the month of my birth, under the sign of Sagittarius. I am not a great believer in astrology, but I do credit my happy spirit and optimism to my birth sign, as well as my love of nature. November is a month of transition, in which the fiery colored trees and bushes have, for the most part, scattered their leaves to the ground, and we are left with a stark landscape of leafless trees and gardens put to bed for the winter. To me, it is beautiful. From the time I was a little girl, I always looked forward to my birthday — in those early years, dreaming of the gifts I would receive — in these later year giving thanks for one more year of life.
Thanksgiving is the highlight of November — a time to gather with family and friends over a bountiful table, lovely decorations, lively conversations, and a sense of belonging to this diverse group we call family. There is a sameness every year that is a comfort — recipes passed down through the generations, a large turkey slowly roasting in the oven, the same jokes, the same arguments, the same thankfulness.
For me, Thanksgiving ushers in the Christmas season. Over Thanksgiving weekend I struggle downstairs with my collection of decorations — my tabletop Christmas tree (as my children grew up, so went the days of trudging through the woods to find a “real” tree), my collection of St. Nicholas figures. the nativity set which has been lovingly played with by my children and grandchildren, my cuddly snowmen, the garland, the candles, and the collection of old Christmas tree bulbs that belonged to my beloved grandmother.
As I write this morning, the sky is overcast, rain is forecast; the beauty of October is long behind us, and the loveliness of our first snowstorm lies somewhere in the future. November is a time for looking back on the months and years past, and looking forward to the beauty and grace of the winter season. I am content this morning, snuggled in my cozy chair, watching the little birds skitter back and forth to the feeders, silence all around me. And I feel blessed to have been a November baby (actually blown in on the tails of a late season hurricane here in New York State) — thankful that I find joy in the simple things of life, and sometimes bubble over with happiness for the precious gift of family and friends that I treasure. Maybe the month of our birth is always our favorite month — it certainly is mine!