A Season to Hope

 brown wooden bench near trees during daytime

Welcome to November! This month signals our closeness  to the end of the year, a year that now seems decrepit, altogether unlovely,  because of its burden of the coronavirus pandemic. We hope for brighter days ahead.

November is best known for Thanksgiving and for the end of Daylight Saving Time, but the month is packed with special days, some of which seem trivial or whimsical.  It’s the month for National Authors Day (November 1), World Vegan Day  (November 1), Cliche Day (November 3), I Love to Write Day (November 18),  and Stay at Home Because You’re Well Day (November 30). The more serious celebratory days are  Veterans Day (November 11),  World Kindness Day (November 13), and World Peace Day (November 17). Make your choice and  celebrate.

Author L.M. Montgomery, best known for her popular series of novels Anne of Green Gables,  said, “I’m glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  Perhaps you have your  favorite month that gladdens your heart. I’m all for having many months of November.  In November the landscape puts on a spectacular show, far different from springtime,  even  with  April’s budding flowers and chartreuse leaves. The colors of November—rust, burnt orange, lemon-yellow, plum, and gold—make a roadside hedge or a Tennessee mountainside glow. It’s the kind of beauty that is the centerpiece of fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains  and Gatlinburg.  Painter John Joseph Enneking (1881-1916) had a special appreciation for the fall color spectacle. His favorite subject was the November twilight of New England. I have seen fall colors in New England. They’re  gorgeous.

The opening words of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “God’s Grandeur”  are a fitting tribute to this colorful month of November. “The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” Hopkins wrote.  The richness and beauty permeating  the world is hard to escape. But, getting past his elation at seeing the splendor of God’s creation, Hopkins  goes on to scold his countrymen for trying  to ruin the whole thing. Writing when the Industrial Revolution was gathering momentum in Great Britain and in other parts of the developed world, the poet had harsh words for those who were involved in trade with its damaging effects upon the world. He wrote, “And all is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toil/And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell, the soil/ Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.” Things were in bad shape, but people were insensitive to the reality.

You can feel the poet’s frustration, perhaps anger, certainly disgust, with the constant destruction of the environment for profit. His words were addressed to the people of the nineteenth century (the poem was written in 1877), but his words are applicable to our twenty-first century treatment of the environment. The ominous warning about climate change has some people scoffing at what they see as over-zealous alarmists, and the majority of individuals simply turn a deaf ear. Greta Thunburg , the eighteen-year-old Swedish climate activist, has been roundly criticized, but she is leading the way for adults, even calling out world leaders for their inaction in a time of global peril.  The UN COP26 (Conference of the Parties) will convene in Glasgow  during  the first two weeks in November to focus on the problem of climate change.  Let’s hope for some substantive results.

In November there’s  ample evidence of a grandeur about our world, but humanity is attempting to smear or smudge it through their  careless disregard for the environment. November with its  unmistakable beauty  reminds us that underneath all that tends to spoil and corrode,  “there lives a freshness deep down,”  as Hopkins says. Things haven’t gone to pot yet,  “Because  the Holy Ghost over the bent/ world broods with warm breast.”  There is hope.



autumn quote


    • Judith Nembhard

      Hello Sheryl,
      Welcome! It’s great hearing from you. I hope you’ll enjoy the fall in your part of God’s world. So much beauty exists, despite the sore spots.
      Thank you for your comment. JN

    • Judith Nembhard

      Hi Fartema, isn’t fall lovely? While I was out and about this morning, I saw two trees in an unusual deep shade of red. They were gorgeous. I could have looked at them for hours. Unfortunately, I had to keep focused on my driving. Yes, the world is charged with God’s grandeur at this time of the year. Thanks for your encouraging comment. JN

      • Judith Nembhard

        Pauline, It’s so good that the topic for this month gladdened your heart. Indeed, fall is a beautiful time of the year.
        Around here the colors have come in nicely. We’ll enjoy them before the leaves get the message and begin to FALL.
        Blessings, JN

  • Doreen Thompson

    Absolutely beautiful, Judith: written with a sense of romancing nature.
    Did you say ‘things haven’t gone to pot yet’ ? I thought it had, for they legalized it!

    • Judith Nembhard

      Hello Doreen,
      I was able to get my computer back today and was happy to see your comment. Thanks for the kind words. I also
      noticed your dig at those in high places who have their own way of disregarding the destruction of the environment.
      Thanks for making your voice heard.
      Blessings, JN

  • Ouida Westney

    I greatly enjoyed your well-stated words regarding the beauties and blessings of the Fall. Thank you.