Nice November

Mantua Glacial Esker Trail

I just finished a hike on Mantua’s Glacial Esker Trail, and my soul feels surprisingly full for the first week of November. Now, I’m sipping on some coffee and trying to figure out why this year’s “November Blues” seem to be playing out so much differently than usual…

Some of it may very well be my little “Fall Getaway” to Trumbull County in late-October. The week or two before that was when I started feeling some of that familiar seasonal depression creeping in — and then, it’s been shockingly minimal since then. Maybe it was the extra rest? Maybe it was the extra sense of perspective and God’s presence? The timing of my mental health trends is hard to ignore…

Mantua Glacial Esker Trail

But it could also be the weather. It seems to me that there have been more sunny, blue-skied days than we often get in November (or at least my memory, or emotional imprint, from previous Novembers). And today is certainly one of those sunny, blue-skied days. Even with a lot of the leaves knocked off the trees, the forest is still a place of refuge, and beauty, and peace for my soul. The crimson leaves of the oak trees and straw-colored leaves of the beech trees still provide some color and motion for the landscape. And the sun glinting off the river and the wetlands is glorious. Uplifting. It helps me to feel close to God, even in the midst of a stretch where I’m working a lot of hours and processing the continued deterioration of my Dad (who had another rough day yesterday).

I also wonder if I’m just doing a better job of focusing on the little pockets of joy to be found in November, more than the struggles of November. We just kindled the first fire in our Family Room hearth on Friday, I chopped a bunch of wood on Saturday, and then I built another fire for Life Group Coaching last night. So, now I’m kind of wondering if I should just make November the official start of fireside festivities in our household, as a way to make the month something to eagerly anticipate. (It wasn’t an intentional move this time around, but it still had that effect).

Kyle Woods State Nature Preserve

I’ve also found myself listening to more music in the last week or two — even full albums, which isn’t the norm for me these days. Sufjan Stevens’s Javelin and Carrie & Lowell… The 1975’s Being Funny in a Foreign Language and Notes on a Conditional Form… Larry Norman’s Only Visiting This Planet and Bootleg… The Langley Schools Music Project’s Innocence and Despair… I think I might want to continue leaning into this for the rest of the month, too. Many of these have been albums or artists that I discovered in previous Novembers — or at least associate with November. And now that I stop to think about it, November is an excellent time of the year for listening to music in long form.

I don’t have to completely understand or be able to explain these dynamics — but I certainly do appreciate the outcomes. I imagine that my system may yet be strained this week, as our Staff team heads to Lansing, Michigan, for the Collegiate Conference (followed by Board Meetings for me!), with a Sunday sermon thrown into the mix for good measure. But I just want to take things one day at a time and keep close to God through it all.

This entry was posted in God, Health, Hiking, Introspection, Music, Prayer, Recreation, Seasonal Depression, Transition, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

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