I’ve only been exempt from the November Blues once, maybe twice, in adulthood. The only time I remember was the November after Scarlet was born. She had just learned to roll over from tummy to back and one of her grandmothers had bought her a little Mrs. Claus dress. We hosted Thanksgiving that year in our warm and cozy apartment and it was grand.
Unfortunately, that is an exception to the rule. I think of November and March as similar months. They’re gateway months. They’re both sort of muddy, drab, coldish, windy, fierce, and…ugly. That’s right. Ugly. The fall foliage of October has left November with bare trees and a grey cloud covering. The mud season of March eventually gives way to flowers and green grass. When I was a kid with a license, we used to drive to deserted beach towns when we were bored and looking for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night. For some of my life, I lived only 45 minutes or so from the Jersey shore. We used to love to go to Asbury Park and Seaside Heights and take pictures. I always needed to stop at Island Beach State Park because, March and November ugliness aside, that place is truly exquisite AND it’s in New Jersey and I don’t usually use those two in the same sentence so you’ll have to trust me on this one. Foxes and trails and empty beaches. No Snooki anywhere.
With my camera and my “deep”, analyzing 17-year-old mind, I thought that deserted beach towns in March look the same as deserted beach towns in November. But they are so, so different. In November, they are boarded up for what seems like eternity and they are sad, sad little towns of sadness. In March, they’re hopeful. You can’t see a difference but you can detect it in the atmosphere. The hot dogs and funnel cakes will fry again. The gears will turn on the creaky rides and they will soar again. You can hear the voices of the carnies and smell the suntan lotion of thousands of Jersey-made beach bodies. March. It’s not really a nothing month, is it? It means that summer is a distant but distinct possibility.
November doesn’t feel that way.
I don’t think I’ve always had the November Blues. I’m certain that as a child I was much more like Scarlet 24/7 – “Are you happy?? Are you, are you? Thanksgiving is coming. Can you believe that? Oh, yes. And Santa Claus. He is coming. I am happy. Are you happy? I am so, so, so happy. We’re Jewish but we celebrate Christmas. I am happy.” That was totally me.
It just took a several bad Novembers, or maybe a few bad things to happen during one or two bad Novembers. I had a bad November once after a break-up and I wanted my boyfriend back so badly but he would hear nothing of it. Thanksgiving was held in a cousin’s apartment after decades of having it at the big, roomy Klein-Jacobson homestead because they were already moving or had moved from the childhood home. The next year, I was reminded of the old boyfriend and I was still sad about that. My Uncle had sciatica which was so bad he could barely function and it was sad and Thanksgiving was held, yet again, somewhere unfamiliar. There were plenty of bad ones after that too. It’s common to lose people in Nov./Dec.
This year, despite all of the newness – the new house, the new red pea coat for Scarlet, the new minivan, I really thought I’d beat the November Blues. In truth, I have them worse than ever. It’s hard going through change without that “home” in-love feeling. With the sun going down around 4:30 pm. With the unpleasant November rain. It doesn’t help that everyone I’ve talked with today has also voiced that they hate November. WTF, November?? Suck a little less!
And it will. It’s already the 17th. Next week we’ll share Thanksgiving. After that, December, baby. December is as dark or nearly as dark as November. But once that solstice hits, every day gets a little bit lighter. Sure, you’re still thick in the snow/slush/dark/cold of winter for a long, long time, but those little bits of extra light help.
It helps to know we’ll be getting lighter and no longer getting darker.
Do you have the November blues too? Or maybe another month you can never seem to love?