November is one of my favorite months. Wait, I think I may have said that about October, too. But I’m going to allow myself more than one favorite, even if that defies the definition of the word. You see, what I like about this month in Minnesota is the very stuff that many people hate: the early darkness, the cold, the snow that will likely come to stay, the looming of the winter holidays. I like the gradual appearance of holiday lights on neighborhood houses, the way we scramble to make sure we have the hoses stowed in the garage and the outside water turned off, how we begin to think of gift lists for family and menus for dinners with friends. I like how we stand at the end of the driveway and talk with our neighbors, shovels in hand, after the first big snowfall of the season.
What I really like is the way we hunker down together at home in November. And it seems that hunkering down at home is exactly what the whole country might need right now. Yesterday’s horrific news of yet another shooting (this is never going to end, is it?), another group of people who thought they were simply going to a place they expected to be safe, ratchets up our national anxiety level another notch. And our anxiety is already at an all-time high, right along with our divisive perceptions of who we are, who our neighbors and friends are, who our enemies are.
And so today, I am at work in a silent house. No television, no radio offering up special news reports in the background. I’m avoiding a lot of social media, too. Drawing inward and thinking about the next kind thing to do is more productive than feeling as if we are all in a constant state of alarm.
November, for all its bad weather and darkness, might just be the perfect time to open our doors, embrace some fresh air, offer a bit of love.