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November is by far my favorite month of the year.  It’s sort of bittersweet, but that is why I like it.  The darkness lengthens, the trees turn, the air becomes chilled.  And yet there is a special light and warmth as well.  The warm hues of autumn leaves and gourds and chrysanthemums.  The golden tone of the slanting sunlight.  All the abundance and togetherness and festivities–not to mention smells and tastes–of the Thanksgiving feast.  Wearing sweaters and fleecy pajamas for the first time in months.  I appreciate and cherish these things more with each passing year!

I turned 36 this month, and that too was bittersweet.  On one hand, I feel disappointment because my life at this age is nothing like how I always hoped and anticipated.  I thought that surely by this time, I would be married and have at least a couple of children and a house all our own.  Maybe I would even be able to leave the workforce to tend to the home and educate the children.  I fully expected to be living a normal, respectable, successful life.  But things have not turned out that way.  In some ways, I feel like I have not made any progress at all from where I was ten years ago… only I’ve lost people and things that made up so much of the joy I had ten years ago.

But I’ve also gained important things: faith, maturity, and wisdom.  And the older I get, the more I cherish the important things and the less I care about unimportant things, such as what people think or say about me, or how the world measures what is normal, respectable, and successful.  The older I get, the more content (but not complacent) I become.  And that is very liberating!

Also this month was Election Day in the United States, and it included the biggest election of all, the presidential election.  I did my civic duty as a voter, and did so proudly and gratefully.  But on the whole, I don’t put too much stock in government and politics.  There is no form of worldly government that can make me entirely secure and confident.  There is no form of worldly government that can make people happy.  Happiness and security and confidence come from the heavenly kingdom and its Lord.  This is not to say that the election didn’t impact me.  It impacted me in that it revealed, yet again, how very polarized this nation is.  No matter who won the most votes, nearly half the nation was going to feel defeated and frustrated and defiant.  That’s not a good thing, and I don’t envy the president one bit.  I also don’t much envy those who put him in office, for the burden of what happens in the next four years is going to be largely upon them.

But as for me, I shall continue doing what I always do and putting my trust and hope where I always put them, in my King and my God.  My citizenship and good standing in His kingdom will always come first.  Funny how folks in this country used to be suspicious of Catholics and say that Catholics could never be good Americans because they give their primary allegiance to the Vatican.  The Vatican?!  Boy, they didn’t know the half of it!  They thought much too lowly and safely and mundanely of us.  For we Catholics don’t just give our primary allegiance to another worldly kingdom, but to a completely otherworldly kingdom.  We Catholics are far more bold and radical than our fellow citizens have ever given us credit for.  The rather ironic part is that our allegiance to God and His kingdom actually entail being loyal and responsible to our earthly homes and leaders (or at least their offices). In the spirit of true charity, we love and serve our nation and respect our leaders out of love for God and Heaven. To adapt the famous last words of St. Thomas More, “I am the Republic’s good servant, but God’s first.”

November increases my tendency to wax poetic and philosophic.

For now, I am going to put aside my computer and go fix myself a nightcap of hot chocolate blended with a little tot of whiskey.

This is one of my favorite days of the year.  Even if the weather is still a bit on the warm side, All Hallows Eve means summer is over and autumn has begun.

That this past summer has been so arid and desolate–a real desert–makes this day all the sweeter and more rejuvenating, all the more blessed!  I am so relieved to have made it here, and I thank God and all my loved ones and supporters and intercessors for seeing me through the summer.

This day is a turning point in the year, and one that always brings about good things.  I can’t help but feel excitement and hope and energy!

And then, this is not only All Hallows Eve, it is also my Birthday Eve!  Life can never be too bad when you’ve got all the Saints in Heaven as your patrons. :D

This is my favorite season of them all.  The air has taken on a definite chill.  It is time for us to bid farewell to all things desiccated and dead.  Let them drop from your arms and be banished by the wind!  Let them languish in the mud or be consumed in fire.  But you, let the long night cover you like a blanket.  Take repose and be subdued for a time.  Very soon, it will return: that thrill of springtime drawing near.

It’s been a beautiful autumn day, sunny and bright, but very cool!  The leaf-turning (such as it is in these parts) has begun.  The colors are rather sparse, but when you do see them, they are quite lovely!  We have some maples, which are always glorious!

I am feeling much refreshed and recharged.  I think my medication is working nicely; I have greater energy and emotional stability, I think.  Thank God.

Prayer has been coming more easily as well.  I went to church this evening after work to pray the Rosary.  It is always a sublimely beautiful and peaceful place.  A holy place.  Today, though, it was even more so.  Perhaps it was the low, autumn evening light… what a sweet and enchanting atmosphere, so redolent of this season.  I looked at the Crucifix.  It is life-size and dominates the entire space.  And the Lord’s body looked so alive.  Less like carved and painted wood, and more like living flesh.  As I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries, I felt like I was there on that first Good Friday.  It made me tremble.  I felt such a surge of love and gratitude.  It’s all too easy to look there and see just a decoration.  This evening was much different.  It was profound.

I’ve also felt a surge of creativity.  I’m trying to drag myself away from Aubrey & Maturin (I’m almost through the 3rd book now!) so that I can work on my own writing.  Of course, that includes the blog, for all love!  :)

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~ Albert Camus

My favorite season has begun!  A fresh, bright, beautiful season between the extremes of summer and winter.  It is like a second Spring to me.  It makes me feel rejuvenated… chipper… frisky, even!

Never mind that I’ll turn a year older on All Saints Day, which will be here in no time.  Nothing puts a damper on Autumn for me!

I’ve got my window open, and I think I might actually need my blanket tonight!

:D

I caught a first glimpse of Autumn the other day on campus!  This little tree has begun to turn beautiful shades of gold and orange.

Tonight, the wind is howling as a cold front passes.  I have some windows open, and it’s whistling through the screens.  I love the sound and the feeling of the breeze!

Before long, there will be the smell of fireplaces and the tastes of pecan pies and cranberry sauce.

I love Autumn because everything looks, feels, sounds, smells, and tastes so beautiful, refreshing, and comforting.  Autumn always makes me think of home, family, and warmth.  I can’t wait to head up to Pennsylvania on Thanksgiving to spend time with my parents!

Meanwhile, we’re approaching Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day… bittersweet days when we remember our invisible families who have gone before us to our Heavenly homeland.  Tucked in the middle is my birthday, when I get to thank God for giving me one more year!  I’ve always found it sort of poetic that I was born at a time when we remember our dead.

Autumn is so full of gifts, and it reminds you of all the many gifts already in your life.  Gifts you might take for granted during the year.  It reminds you how very good and generous God is!

Can you tell this is my favorite time of year?

A glorious and blessed Autumn to everyone!  :D

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(Image from a painting at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Metairie, Louisiana)

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