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Almanac November 2023

November opens our eyes to invisible worlds.

On a quiet morning, the soft trill of a single cricket coloring the darkness, you pull the old cookbook from the kitchen cupboard and cradle it by lamplight. Your hands know what to do, turning stained and cockled pages with gentle intention. Running your fingers over the food-smudged recipes, you think of the hands that held this relic before yours; all the homecooked meals; all the gatherings; all the love.

Slowing down, you delight in the soft rustling of each page, the fingerprints, the swell of memories. The journey is as sacred as the destination.

When you turn to the recipe — the one you’ve nearly memorized but could never forsake — your eyes dance from list to countertop, countertop to list. You tick off each item before dropping into an ancient, ancestral rhythm.

Your hands know what to do — measuring, whisking, mashing — and as you study each ingredient, you see them not as what they are, but where they’ve been:

Eggs warm from the hen.

Sweet potatoes buried in dark earth. 

Fields of wheat.

Cinnamon and nutmeg trees.

Sugarcane swaying in a spring breeze.

Yes, what you’re baking has a name. But it’s more than what you see. More than warm crust and vibrant orange filling. It’s sweetness harvested from darkness; prayers folded into faithful mixing bowls; the quiet song of summer’s final cricket.

Morning breaks slowly. Beyond the kitchen window, eddies of golden leaves gather and disperse, here and gone as quickly as the seasons.

An amalgam of spices warms the kitchen. As you place the cookbook on the shelf, your own hands sweeten the harvest — an eddy of unseen gifts folded into a family treasure. 

 

The thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of. The mite which November contributes becomes equal in value to the bounty of July.      — Henry David Thoreau

Days to Remember

The first frost is nigh. Daylight saving time ends on Nov. 5. Autumn is edging toward winter.

Between Dia de los Muertos (Nov. 1–2) and Thanksgiving (Nov. 23) are a ton of lesser-known holidays awaiting their time in the sun. Below are a few them. Of course, Veterans Day (Nov. 11) belongs up here.

Nov. 5 – Pumpkin Deconstruction Day (yep, exactly what it sounds like)

Nov. 6 – Marooned Without a Compass Day

Nov. 8 – Dunce Day

Nov. 13 – World Kindness Day

Nov. 14 – National Pickle Day

Nov. 15 – Clean Your Refrigerator Day

Nov. 17 – World Peace Day and Homemade Bread Day (more twofers like this, please)

Turn! Turn! Turn!

Turn back the clock; turn the compost; turn your focus inward.

As the garden journeys toward dormancy, we, too, slow down. And yet, these darker days awaken the dreamer, guiding us toward unopened books, forgotten crafts, the stovetop, the woodpile and the hearth.

From these quiet spaces, potent questions emerge.

What are you willing to let go of? How might this foster your growth?

As you nurture the roots of your wildest longings, feeding the soil of what’s true, you are minding the very fabric of what’s possible.

Such is the magic of this fallow season. OH