And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.
– Elizabeth Coatsworth
last year everything was new. it was my first november living in sweden. everything was magical, exciting, an adventure. the long, dark november days were mysterious and something i had never experienced before. yes, the days are longer in NC as well, but it is nothing like it is here. the nights seemed to be never-ending in sweden. blink, and i will miss the daylight. and as november passes on by, the nights get longer & longer. last year it was fantastic! dark, yes. but, so new and so amazing to experience.
this year, it’s not quite the same. well, the darkness remains, but there is something that is different. i only realized it yesterday.
i am not feeling like myself. i don’t want to do anything at all. only light candles, stay in bed under the covers, or sit on the sofa under my blanket. i have no energy and no inspiration. the tiny bursts of inspiration that i do feel seem to last for only a few moments, and as soon as they are over, i’m right back to longing for the comfort of my bed, my cozy clothes, & a cup of coffee. i have started to wonder if i am depressed, emotional, homesick, malnourished…. or any other thing that could be psychologically or physically wrong with me. i seriously don’t recognize myself. i don’t feel hopeless or sad; just lethargic, tired, and lazy. i just wanna stay home & do absolutely nothing.
then, in a moment, i understood. it’s the dark. the gray. the constant fog & mist. the chill in the air. i am missing light, sun, warmth. and since it’s november, there is no snow yet. no candles & christmas lights in the windows yet. no lights on the trees yet. it’s just dark.
but, soon. things will change. it’s funny, i usually get into this anxious waiting mood after thanksgiving & before christmas (during advent – which literally means waiting). but, i am finding myself in the middle of november longing for thanksgiving & the first sunday of advent (a big deal here in sweden. advent, not thanksgiving. hehe.). the waiting game started when november came. things will feel much different once we are on our way toward christmas… much more festive & bright. in the meantime, i am lighting as many candles as possible. you should see our apartment. every afternoon, every night, every morning. whenever i am home. candles are lit. i must admit, though, that the candles are extremely cozy. the blankets are snuggly. the evenings or mornings (depending on my work schedule) are lazy & cozy. and right now, i just want to stay here & enjoy that… waiting on thanksgiving & the christmas season to begin.
november has been a strange month for a while now. always a little depressing (except for the thanksgiving holiday – but, again, that ushers in the advent/christmas season). my grandfather died in november. lina and i were separated from one another many novembers in a row. my life changed drastically one november a few years ago. it has always felt like this never-ending, ever-darkening month to just try to get through. but, i’m halfway there. and thanksgiving is next week! mind you, it’s not at all the same as being in the states during thanksgiving (it’s weird to wait for, prepare for, & celebrate a holiday that no one else around you really cares about/celebrates), but lina & i are doing the best we can to bring thanksgiving to our home next week! as a bi-national couple, it is important to us (we decided) to honor & celebrate each others’ holiday no matter which country we live in. and hey, that just means more reasons to celebrate, which is never a bad thing.
so, it’s now thursday morning. i still have no energy. the darkness has affected me so much more this year. i want to stay under my cozy, warm covers in bed, but it is time to get up. i’m headed to my internship today, which i love, by the way. and even though the days & nights are dark right now, even though i am waiting for some light to break through & give me more energy, going to my internship always brings a smile to my face. i may want to stay home, and when i am away, i may long to be home again… but i know that there are people to meet and things to do which will enrich my life & inspire me (and hopefully i will do the same). it’s all about the attitude.
so, take that, dark november days! i’m fighting through the darkness & determined to make my own light shine. besides, it’s mid-november and soon, there will be lights everywhere piercing through the darkness. soon, all of us in sweden will be celebrating advent , and doing our part to bring some warmth & light to the dark, cold swedish winter. all i gotta do now is hang on…
peace, warmth, & light to you all.