November hits us with a wallop: I can’t complain, as I love the changing of the seasons (and despair of how that’s being smeared out by climate change); but it does seem to be a rather damp, grey sock of a month so far. In a meeting with a client and their client on Tuesday, Florian (an Austrian-Italian) looked out of the window and grimaced, and an Oxford bornandbred said to him: “don’t worry; we’ll only have a few weeks of this; and then it’ll go nice and cold and crisp!” I wish I could describe the look on Florian’s face after that.
Between October and November, K. and I tag-team our SAD symptoms, so now the lightbox has been moved to my desk. For me, it’s a feeling of desperation, more than anything else, of time running out and of the walls closing in. Exercise in daylight usually helps, and I’ve tried to do that this week: two client meetings in the city, an hour’s ride away; a morning jog, on the only genuinely “crisp” day thus far; and getting out as much as possible. But no longer do I make my daily commute of a morning; at the same time, no longer must I struggle back home in the dark, whatever the weather.
While I can’t be out in the garden as much as I’d like, there’s hope out there and I can see it from where I sit and type. The now-triple heads of our mahonia japonica stretch their yellowy candelabras upwards, defying the grey sky behind them. Meanwhile, the honeysuckle and pyracantha are both lounging around and looking healthy, as if trying to pretend that the sleet is no big deal. Our overwintering leeks have, I think, passed the point where light frost might kill them stone dead.
And only in the past couple of days have I been able to spot tiny shoots from our broad beans—an aguadulce variant, and a heritage variety, in separate rows—showing that not all is dying nor slowing down. In much the same way, only buried deep in the soil of my own brain; germinating, fidgeting, humming with stored potential: there lie hidden the seeds of all the hopes and ideas I have for next season.