In November, because of its beginnings of All Saints and All Souls, I presume, we remember those who have passed before us into the next stage. For us it is our Community of Life program, where each sister receives six, eight or ten cards for people who have asked for our prayers. These prayers are for the living and the dead, for relatives who are sick, or children suffering the experiences of youth, or just for people who are important to them--who they care about. I enjoy this praying together very much--I read through the cards every day and do add my prayers to theirs.
November days are special, too, for feasts, both liturgical and from the civic world--as the crazed commercialism of our holiday season begins with a vengeance.
This weekend we escaped a busy time of guests and retreatants to take a walk through our woods and down to the lake. Color is quickly disappearing from the natural world around us. We found some leftover spots, but mostly we were in a brown, tan, grey world. It has its own beauty, I suppose, in its sparseness and scarcity. Sort of like a photo printed in that sepia tone. Not quite black and white yet not full color either. In between, just like November.
Mary Oliver's take on November:
"Visiting the Graveyard"
When I think of death
it is a bright enough city,
and every year more faces there
but not a single one
though I long for it,
and when they talk together,
which they do
it's in an unknowable language--
I can catch the tone
but understand not a single word--
and when I open my eyes
there's a mysterious field, the beautiful trees.
There are the stones.