24 November 2010

november conundrums

On my drive home to Iowa tonight, there was a thunderstorm, a crackling good one, making me think for a second that it was late summer and I was headed home to boat rides on the Mississippi and sweet corn on the deck.

But no, it's late November. I had a scarf wrapped around my neck, wrapped in just the way my French friend taught me.

It's Thanksgiving. Fall is coiling around itself, pulling us closer to winter when we all, at some point, feel that primal urge to burrow. We usually satisfy that urge with sweaters and down comforters and the kind of hot chocolate that's so thick, you have to use a spoon to drink it.

The thunder and lightning flashed me back to August, hot, stifling, can't-breathe August when you have the whole of fall to look forward to. When I remembered that oh no, the glory of colors is gone, the leaves are down, the ground is turning hard and cold—when I remembered that, I got a bit hard and cold myself.

I do like winter, but fall—fall is a showy season. Winter teaches lessons of perseverance, but fall teaches us to marvel. Every year, when I realize that fall is over, that I'll be seeing the bare branches of the trees for the next few months, I want to go back to October and try really hard to appreciate every moment. I want a do-over.


That isn't what I thought I'd write about tonight. It's past 11, and I'm in my bedroom in my parents' house. I wanted to write quickly to say: I had two experiences tonight on my drive that were emotional conundrums and quick changes.

The first was the whole thunderstorm in November thing.

The second was this: In one of the small towns I drove through, a few of the houses were already decorated for Christmas.

'Come on, people!' I thought. 'It's not even Thanksgiving yet. How do you think this makes the turkey feel? Like the overlooked second cousin of the holiday season? Would you want to feel like that?'

It was odd to feel indignant on behalf of a pilgrim holiday, but I went with it.

And then I realized that I had no right to be so upset: I was singing along to "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

I've been listening to Christmas music for two weeks; I blame the early start on my choir. We've been practicing for our Christmas concert since October, and when "Angels We Have Heard on High" gets in your head, you may as well hum along {don't do this too loudly in stores, fyi}. And then pull out the Time-Life Treasury of Christmas Classics, just to give your head something else to sing along to.

I don't know where I developed this belief that you shouldn't decorate for Christmas until the Sunday after Thanksgving, but it is firmly in me, so much so that I judge other people for breaking what they didn't know was a rule.

How dare they rush ahead. We must be thankful for every season, for every holiday, for every chance to see our family. We must not always be pushing ahead to the next thing.

But if you do that by singing, I'm totally okay with it, perhaps because it makes life more of a musical.

1 comment:

  1. And life being more like a musical is always better. Sing away, kami!



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