Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nature's Advent

I love that poem by Thomas Hood I posted below and I think it is accurate in many ways, but lest you think I'm feeling depressed in this season, I would like to confess that I love November.

Yesterday's house showing was at 3:30 and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make our November visit to a cemetery and pray for the departed. (You have until the 8th to gain the plenary indulgence.) As I stepped out the door, Dawn's lovely post still fresh in my mind, I greeted the November afternoon.

The air was cool enough to wear a sweater, but not so cool that a jacket was needed. The sky was gray, gray, gray, like a huge comforter filling the air; it was everywhere. Set against this like so many veins were the bare, bare branches of trees and the black, black wings of crows. Their call, "caw...caw..." pierced the stillness, and bareness, and emptiness.

As I drove to the cemetery, I felt a cozy contentment and a strange sort of hushed excitement. I thought for a moment that it might be morbid of me to enjoy this weather--to feel happy as I walked about a graveyard. But then I remembered that it is the privilege of the Christian to feel joy, even in sadness. We can, because we know the end of the story. We know that death and darkness do not get the last word.

November is nature's advent. As her days diminish and her colors fade, as a frost veils her face, nature assumes a posture of quiet contemplation. November is nature humbling herself, in a kind of premonition, before the Creator's birth. She must decrease. And the Light of the World, born in a cave, must increase and fill the earth.

Perhaps this is why I always begin listening to Advent music in early November, before the liturgical season actually begins.

12 comments:

Jen said...

Wow. I never thought of November that way. But it's so true. You have such a way with words. I love the last part of your post, how nature must decrease so that the Light of the World will increase.

Beautiful. What a great way to start off the morning...in wonderful contemplation.

Jen

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Suzanne - I love November too!

Erika said...

Where did you find good Advent music? I have never found anything more than an occasional "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" on an otherwise Christmas album.

Love2Learn Mom said...

Interesting post! It seems to make even more sense out of November being the month of All Souls.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

Lovely post, Suzanne. I've never before thought of November as nature's Advent, and the beauty of that image will not quickly leave me.

Mary Poppins NOT said...

You know, in the Eastern Churches, Philip's Fast begins this week. Coincidence? I think not.

Mary Poppins NOT said...

Oops, I guess the 15th isn't this week, but it is soon, so, anyway, I guess my point still holds. (?)

Suzanne Temple said...

Finally! Blogger has been preventing me from responding sooner.

erica, there is always Handel's famous "Messiah" perfect Advent listening, and I like the Advent Carols of St. John's College in Cambridge. (We like their Christmas music as well.) You know one of my favorites is an old Trivium cd, "Seasons of Expectation!" Mark Langley conducting. I saw amazon has an Advent in Lessons and Carols from St. Paul's that looks interesting, too. And another album based on the great "O" Antiphons. Happy looking and listening!

m.p.n, Your point certainly does hold. Isn't that interesting?

Anonymous said...

"November is nature's advent. As her days diminish and her colors fade, as a frost veils her face, nature assumes a posture of quiet contemplation. November is nature humbling herself, in a kind of premonition, before the Creator's birth. She must decrease. And the Light of the World, born in a cave, must increase and fill the earth."

WOW, you go girl! Boy can you write!!
Karen : )

Jennifer said...

Beautiful. I feel the same way. November is so quiet and cozy. Thank you for writing this.

Suzanne Temple said...

Thank you, jennifer, and Karen, you are too kind.

Erika said...

Thank you for the tips. I ordered the Advent Carols of St. John's College in Cambridge and a Palestrina album as well. I can't wait.