November Slips Into View


November 1st sunrise

A beautiful night–crisp in temperature, a quarter moon bright in the star-filled sky. Then dawn arrived–a real beauty.

November burst upon us disguised as a glorious late October day. Mother Nature and the calendar fooled us into not thinking about that calendar flipping over.

To November. The month of monstrous gales off the Great Lakes. Ones whose fury has been immortalized in Gordon Lightfoot’s, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” That sinking happened on November 10, 1975. Sustained winds that day were 40-58 mph. Some were higher in the 70 mph gust range. Those winds and waves, some as high as 35 feet eventually took the freighter down. It’s all in Lightfoot’s song.

Well, last week after November’s Trojan Horse arrival, it launched its usual behavior. The next day gale force winds buffeted us living along the shore. High winds whipped 10-20 foot waves. They raced to shore and crashed against the rocks, bluffs, and sand beaches. We had overcast and dreary, dark days for a couple days.

Angry Lake

Nothing is more majestic in its fury than water, especially large bodies of water. The shipping freighters came closer to shore as they headed toward Chicago or the Soo Locks. November pushes them hug the shore.

November is the time nature prepares to rest. It must rest better with dim days and leaden overcast skies. Resting during the day mustn’t be enough as days get shorter and shorter and night falls well before dinner is on the table.

November has its good points. It contains only 30 days. They can swiftly move by as we prepare for the coming winter holidays.

November is the month we remember our veterans and the sacrifices they have made to keep our nation free and our democracy intact. On Friday, November 11, 2011, we should all stop for a moment and face east at 11:00 AM in memory of the moment WWI, the “War to End All Wars” concluded.

I remember as a child doing that. If that day fell on a school day, the teacher would watch the clock. Just before eleven, she’d have us all rise and face East. Then with hands over our hearts, we’d say the Pledge of Allegiance and then offer a prayer that peace would remain for the world. If the day fell at home, my parents and grandparents did the same. That was part of November for me and still is. And unfortunately, the initial reason for the day didn’t hold true. It wasn’t the war to end wars.

This year, come Friday, I will do as I’ve always done, but add another prayer–that the wars happening today will soon end and our world can find a way to live together with civility and fairness to all.

But back to November. For the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s the time to be thankful for the harvests we’ve been granted. It’s the day we celebrate the blessings in our lives. It’s often the day families gather together to remind themselves they are family and have traditions.

My Favorite Photo of my son and grandson

November is also the birthday month of my grandson. In fact his birthday will be tomorrow.  Fifteen years ago he arrived a few weeks early and had to fight to live. I will never forget the phone call I received that morning from my son, his father. The anguish in his voice told me more than his words how dire this baby’s chances were to survive and be a healthy child.

But the neo-natal team members were skilled and talented and Remi was a fighter. Each call from my son noting Remi’s progress showed concern, but less anguish. Within a day, this valiant newborn was doing much better and while he spent a few extra days in the hospital to get up to weight, he’s been a healthy boy.

Tomorrow he will be 15. As he’s gone through his childhood and I see photos of him and compare them to his day, it’s as if I’m taken back in time they are so much alike in looks.

Today is one of those gray November days. The wind whips off the lake and our lakeside trees are bare-limbed. Waves pound the shore like canon balls.

A November sight

We got an extra hour of sleep last night with daylight savings time retreating till next spring. That means this afternoon will be dark by half time in the Packer game.

What a difference an hour makes, in our calendar, in our day, in our lives.

November is a bitter sweet month. A month of contrasts.

What are your November thoughts?

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14 Comments on “November Slips Into View”

  1. Cyndie Kimball Says:

    Well, I have to love November – for I was born on the very last day!
    And two of my sisters have birthdays during this month so it was always a month of excitement when I was growing up.

    But I agree – it is a bittersweet month. I don’t mind the crisp autumn mornings getting nippier; I don’t mind the thought of ice and snow to come. November ushers in the holiday season with all its joys and excitements. But it also brings a bitter pill to remember – the death of my Dad, now 9 years ago. I enter November with a sorrow but also a twinkle in my eye – with all the memories of past Novembers to cherish and contemplate as the days grow shorter.

    I love that I share a birth month with your grandson! It reminds us all that while there are gray, dark days to slog through in November, there are also bright sparkling days as well.

    Love, Cyndie

  2. Anne Parent Says:

    You’ve certainly captured November in Wisconsin. Thank you for reminding me why I love this month. It may seem strange, but I love the constant change from day to day. The brisk feel in the air reminds me to enjoy these days because winter is just around the corner. I love fall because my favorite sport, football, is in full swing, and thanksgiving is the time most of my family comes together and we celebrate our ups and downs of the previous year. It is also the kickoff to Christmas and all the decorations and food. Need I say more?

  3. caseyclifford Says:

    Cyndie,

    I knew your dad, my godfather and beloved Uncle Jim, died in November which is one of my reasons for the bitter in the month. But I thought he deserved a blog post on his own.

    And how wonderful you share a birthday month with Remi. I remember how your family would have a joint monthly birthday celebration for those celebrating birthdays during a month.

    Have a great week.

  4. caseyclifford Says:

    Anne,

    I love that you love November. I do also for all the reasons you mention. I’ve always loved Thanksgiving because it was all about getting together and giving thanks for the blessings and challenges of the past year.

    And football? Love it! 🙂


  5. I’m partial to November, too. I was born on the 14th. Love your post.

  6. caseyclifford Says:

    Lorna.

    So your birthday is coming soon? Yippee for you! I think November birthdays are far better than January ones, especially if those January ones are way too close to the winter holidays burnout.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Edie Ramer Says:

    My son’s was born in Nov., and this is the month when all the shopping bargains start. We went to Target today, and it was filled!

    My SIL is having Thanksgiving at her house. She already warned us that there will be ham and no turkey. I’ll miss turkey, but will make one at my house that weekend instead.

  8. Cyndie Kimball Says:

    Oh – I look forward to your blog post later this month then – I love hearing your memories of Daddy (your Uncle Jim)!!

  9. Elle J Rossi Says:

    November and I have a love-hate relationship. My birthday, too, is celebrated this month. And I do mean celebrate. While I don’t have huge parties, I do enjoy each of them. I don’t mind getting older. As cliche as it sounds, getting older beats the alternative.

    I enjoy Thanksgiving and the traditions we are still forming.

    I don’t, however, enjoy this brisk/frigid weather. Every year I say I won’t let it get me down, and every year I find the wind and the temperatures waging war and winning. Darn!

    But as you know, I do LOVE my boots!

  10. caseyclifford Says:

    Elle,

    Another birthday gal–too neat! And believe me, you are NOT old. Take it from someone who wishes she were once again about the age I suspect you are. Still full of energy and beauty and with the wisdom and experience to use it wisely.

    And I love those boots you wear!

  11. carol gianforte Says:

    i look forward to your blogs and appreciate your writing; your observations, topics and photos.

    thanks! carol gianforte

  12. caseyclifford Says:

    Carol,

    Thanks for stopping in here. November is probably a very different temperament in AZ. Today warmth and sun sound pretty good. 🙂

  13. Rose Says:

    I don’t recall how I stumbled upon your blog and then linked it to mine so I could be sure to follow you, but I’m sure glad I found you. I love reading the eloquent way you use words and the descriptions of what you see, hear and feel. Your rendering of November reads like a well written chapter from a best selling novel…..Thank you!

  14. caseyclifford Says:

    Rose,

    Thank you for those marvelous comments. Writing is a solitary profession, albeit one I love. But after crafting and working through revisions and edits on a novel, an article for a deadline, or a blog post, I begin to question my choices. Never good.

    I was at that point when I read your post and your decision to follow me. I am re-energized. I hope you check out my other pages at this site and read older posts. Please consider telling others you know with similar writing tastes about my blog and my writing.

    Writers love readers. They keep us in the trenches and at our keyboards. 🙂


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