I have a natural affinity for November. I was born on the 9th day of the month. With the passing of this day every year, I spot tangible changes in myself. Physically and mentally. It is a bouquet of mixed emotions. Wisps of grey hair, fine lines upon the forehead, a wistfulness that the years are going by in a jiffy, the recognition that I am changing as a person too. Subtle changes. Like how I used to love being social. Now I am content in the company of my husband, the geese and the squirrels (they who have taken the place of the English sheep and horses). The gulls have started arriving too. And it would be terribly amiss of me if I did not tell you about Yah Yah, the shaggy Great Bernese I meet almost every other day when she returns like a frisky girl with the wind in her black and white locks, her tongue lolling out a cheery how do you do. If you believe that canines could beam, Yah Yah does as she presses her big beautiful body against mine, and I coo to her as I proceed to gather clumps of her hairs on my running gear. Could I have any quibbles with life?
And there are the colours at their ripest best outside the windows, drying away in sunshine so liquid, as I write. Suddenly autumn has unleashed her uncommon splendour upon us. I noticed it last weekend when we drove into a town called Monteclair at the foot of the Watchung Mountains, which might be called mountains, but are really low-lying volcanic ridges covered with thick vegetation. In this town which the British settlers from Connecticut adopted for their own in the mid-1600s, and in which the Dutch arrived eventually, buying land off the Lenape Native Americans who hunted there, we had exquisite Thai food and shivered in the wind as we walked about its streets lined with old Tudor facades, now-desolate theatres framed in timber and episcopal churches with medieval touches in stone.
Closer home, the trees along the avenue on which we live, have turned colours. With all the wind that the gods seem to breathe our way, they are shedding leaves in twirls of golden yellows and russets. It is a most heartwarming sight. Kicking those piles of leaves in the air, even more so. Then, bringing bunches home to Adi’s amusement, to be pressed into the pages of books, and some to curl up at leisure on the dining table. Simple are the pleasures of life on this earth and I could ask for no better.