November

 

There is a certain gloom and colour in November days. The cold reaches through into your core and erupts in bouts of shivering. Naturally, shivering is not conducive to clear and steady landscapes so the trick is to time each shot for the moment of stillness after you exhale. Then you can warm yourself on the vibrancy in each exposure.

At times, though, when the trees are barren and the colour fades, November can be tough. Of course, there is light, there is always light, but it may be the sort of longing light that stirs up loneliness and memory of something stronger. Of summer sunlight like whisky in the gut. November light is changeable. Moody and unsure. Shaky as my shivering breath. But the next exhale might lead past cold and into a gentler wind, so there must always be a next.

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We should take our cue from the earth and rest, but instead, we have insisted on placing our most active season in the months of tired, gray drizzle. Why are human beings expected to bloom in winter, in the dark? Our own biological parameters are at odds with those expectations. Like all growing things, we have a season collapse and rebirth. It’s just too bad that when I’m ready to crawl into the soil to be planted and grow, I simultaneously must rally my best thoughts for the gauntlet of final exams.

How to be gentle with oneself when social expectations are not?

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