A time of remembering and wistfulness – the mizzly (misty and drizzly) weather that characterises this time of year does not help.

This 19th century poem captures the gloomy spirit pretty well.

November

No sun – no moon!

No morn – no noon –

No dawn – no dusk – no proper time of day.

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,

No comfortable feel in any member –

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,

No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! –

November!

Thomas Hood

For me it is a useful reminder that to feel gloomy, sad etc, is a reasonable response when the weather is dull, the nights are drawing in and there is less and less daylight as each day of the month passes.

This month also features All Souls’ day (kept by some churches on 2nd November for those who wish to commemorate ordinary folk who have died whom we know personally) as well as Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday with their recollection of those who have died in war and violent conflict. And if it so happens that November is when one or more members of your family have died … well, it can be a tough month. “Cheerless” is how James Reeve describes November in the following poem:

Things to Remember

The buttercups in May,

The wild rose on the
spray,

The poppy in the hay,

The primrose in the
dell,

The freckled foxglove
bell,

The honeysuckle’s
smell

Are things I would
remember

When cheerless raw
November

Makes room for dark
December.

James Reeve

At least it is only one month and maybe remembering happier ones can give us a bit of perspective. I have begun to learn that feelings, no matter how deep, wonderful or terrible, may last a short or a long time – but not for ever.

Peace be with you especially if you’re finding November particularly tough this year.

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