November Awakens Nostalga


     You are cordially invited to reminisce!  Let’s indulge in the enjoyable recollection of past events and allow the sentimental longing for yesterday a space at the table.  November, with Thanksgiving in the lead role seems a perfect time to allow  thoughts to meander as aimlessly as falling autumn leaves.  Let your world slow down, keep pace with the setting amber sun as it sinks earlier and earlier into the inky nighttime sky. Give focus to your own breath, your full attention to the sounds of this season and listen with intent, there is a symphony in the air. The crispness of the fallen maple leaves rustle on the ground and harsh winds cry out and then whine like a toddler in need of a nap.  Squirrels scamper and dart as they rush to amass a stockpile of acorns and the geese in flight honk their farewells until next spring.  It is not on your to do list, but go for a walk. Take the sidewalk, or find a wooded path and set out with only the intention of eavesdropping.  Nature is slowly surrendering to slumber, giving in to the rest she so rightly deserves.

Whether we make the time or take the time to warm our hearts and share our memories with others it is important to give ourselves permission for these self-nurturing and essential diversions.  Healthy thoughts and conversations are as critical to self-care as exercise and proper nutrition.  It is often said that we may not be able to control our circumstances, but we can control our thoughts and our reactions to all events.  In years past, affable conversations between family and friends had no need to be scheduled.  The occasions occurred naturally as time spent with those held dear was just more commonplace.  Often after sharing a meal those who remained gathered around the dining table while savoring that last cup of coffee or glass of wine were drawn to storytelling.  Compelled to keep alive the spirit of their youth tales were told, history disseminated perhaps some advice laid out.  Some embellishment for sure, but at the end of the gathering the memories were transported by each participate and given shelter in the recess of their own memory, as every treasure deserves.   You might know that there are four types of conversation. Subjective which serves to extend understanding and awareness, objective, consolidate a widely held view.  Conversations about other people, is known as gossip and about oneself provides relevant information about the speaker to the participants in the conversation.  Today there are so many lifestyle options afforded to us all that they may succeed in keeping family and friends apart, if we fail to realize and adjust.   Obligations rule our calendars.  One cannot reminisce when confined to a time schedule. Too often we find ourselves pulled in many different directions, our energy reserves drained.  Nostalgic thoughts will not be labeled they require the freedom to ebb and flow to dance about and flit among the changing topics as if possessed by magic.

There are an expansive number excuses we  call on to forgo allowing ourselves a leisurely stroll down memory lane.  Just as we make time for a walk counting it’s health benefits  we must allow time to devote to meaningful conversation.   Time is a costly commodity these days, we can not withstand waste, and count on the  outcome of these conversation to reveal priceless treasures.

For myself, I recall a time when the anticipation of the joy of Christmas began only after the Thanksgiving guests had departed.  The business of the day was a shared effort.  The table cleaned, the turkey carcass picked clean and put up for soup and the delicate china gently washed, carefully dried and packed away.  The noise of the football games on TV ended and Heidi the Family Classics movie played in the background.  Those fortunate slacker that were napping awakened to turkey sandwiches being served and the satisfaction of the day was palpable.   At long last the children were allowed to hoist the Sears catalog into their laps and begin to dog ear through the toy section in hopes that Santa would somehow know and provide. Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and United States. With roots in both religious and cultural traditions the day is set aside for celebrating the bounty of the harvest and the blessing of the preceding year.  Thanksgiving family traditions are honored and as a general rule not to be toyed with.  The menu is center stage and very serious business.  Recipes passed from grandmother, to mother, to daughter may appear only on this day once every year. Mouths begin to water as early as September in anticipation of such gastronomic delights such as homemade gravy and whipped potatoes, candied yams and stuffing or dressing as some call it, with sausage or not, with apples or not, surely sage and marjoram and almost always a family secret.   Gratuitously we celebrate each year with family, friends and as a nation with a variety of time honored traditions. The Macy’s Day Parade or a backyard game of touch football before the feast are all part of the joy of the day.   Now is the time to call to mind the memories and all the blessings you’ve shared around a Thanksgiving table. You may have started off at the kids table and moved through the decades and are now a part of a family grown so large only a buffet can accommodate. Recall the faces of family and friends, perhaps long acquainted or maybe they graced the table for just one season.  Memories of loved ones no longer of this world are bound to pull at your heartstrings, let me, memories are eternal.  Giving a nod to the practice of mindfulness, if we concentrate earnestly, take a sip from our sisterhood mug we will encounter the peace brought by reminiscing.  Reflecting on a time when the traditions we call our own today were born.  Ancestral traditions, woven as if by loom to become the very essence of the spirit of the holiday that we now carry forth and pass on as our own.   This is not to say that a stitch has not been dropped here or there, but the resulting tapestry is art itself!

Extending the season with little regard to dates on a calendar provides us extra time with which to experience the joy of the holidays.  A multitude of commitments compete for our time and our energies, this extension is welcomed by most. The focus to bundle all of the good will and vitality of the season and channel that spirit into the approaching New Year requires all of the time we can beg, borrow, or steal. I’m good with that, but how do you feel? Some may find it overwhelming, emotionally and financially. Creeping into November and stretching beyond New Year’s Day the holiday season is not noted officially on any calendar.   You will not find an amended version on sale at Staples now or even at the end of the year. They carry the standard 12 month, four season day books, almanacs, diaries but rest assured –there are five seasons now: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn and the Holidays!

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