Reframing the Eleventh Month

Please note: This entry was originally published November, 2014.

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Heart Niagara’s new blog! We will regularly feature articles written by Heart Niagara staff, volunteers, our Journal Club, and community members on stories, research, inspiration, and events related to healthy living. Make sure to check back often and share entries that interest you. If you have any questions, please send them to aaryn.secker@heartniagara.com

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Ah, November.

To me, this month has always been defined by a key historical significance: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Other than that important date and time, I have tended to view November as a kind of placeholder month. Thanksgiving and Halloween are over for the year, and the craziness that can be the holiday season of December has yet to hit full stride. For my students, the midterms of October have ended and the finals of December have yet to begin. Those of us living in the northern climes are mentally preparing for the cold months ahead and adjusting to the shortened daylight hours. Mostly gone are the colourful leaves of early fall as the deciduous trees revert to their skeletal look of winter.

Although I’d have to say that October is my favourite month, my feelings for November have changed. It’s the month when I welcomed my son into this world, and that alone makes this month special. But there is more. In my part of the country, it’s usually the month when the first snow falls. I don’t know about you, but a sure-fire way for me to feel like a kid again is seeing those first big white flakes of the season: All I want to do is get outside and revel in them.

Even without any snow, I find that November is a month that beckons me outside. That crisp autumn air feels and smells so fresh after the humid summer months and the pollen filled days of early fall. It helps that my dog is a winter breed. The sheer joy on his face as he relishes the cooler days! How can I resist but enjoy the outdoors with him?

If you are not a cold weather enthusiast, it’s tempting to hunker down indoors with the television on and the inevitable concomitant snacking. Well, my challenge to you this month is to get outside and see for yourself what pleasures there are to be found in this the eleventh month of the year. Dress for the weather. Take a camera with you and see the unique beauty of the November landscape as captured through the lens. Breathe in the change in aromas as backyard barbecues give way to the robust smells of slow cooking stews and roasts. Feel your cheeks getting rosy. And notice the lightness in your step.

The charms of November – ah!

(Pictured left: Joey, the author’s dog, seizing the November day)

By Susan Down

Susan Down is an educator with a keen interest in healthy living. She works out regularly at a local gym and always starts and ends her day dancing like there’s no tomorrow.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in blog entries are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Heart Niagara.

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