Dear November

We have met twenty seven times before this but it was not until five years ago that I recognised your heaviness. As the eleventh month you carry the burden of a year almost over without December's reprieve that soon it'll let it all go. For me you also carried the weight of a relationship ending while another began. Love and heartache are heavy in equal weight but shift as the days do - November became a see-saw and it has been difficult to find balance in this month ever since.

Truth be told, I have dreaded your arrival. Afraid that despite how different my circumstances are now, you would still creep as lichen onto my skin, attach yourself to me, like stones in pockets by the sea. I call it the November blues and from the first I've felt them arrive. A change in the pallor of my skin. Flares of chronic pain. Loss of appetite. Recurring dreams. Fatigue. All familiar friends of mine, always waiting to return but the summer months are easier in comparison to when the rain and cold sweep in.

And swept in they have...

This time, however, I am adamant to manage you with grace. With a grace I haven't allowed myself for the past five years out of guilt and shame. With a kindness I do deserve, no matter how often I attempt to deny this.

I have reached the sixth without calling in sick. I have allowed myself to sleep in to battle chronic pain and fatigue but I've made sure I've still been productive. I am choosing not to punish my needs and so thriving later on, when these needs have been met. I have holiday booked in for a week from now. A week in which I can spend time with myself. I have acknowledged your existence and all the memories and bad weather which come with you and I have chosen not to hide.

And as I finished that paragraph, a moment of serendipity, if you will, occurred. The rain kept pouring but the sun shot through the clouds. A grey sky was revealed. As were the birds flying against it, white feathers mottled with rain. The trees glistening as they continue to cling to their bounty of green.

There is a rainbow. Right at the end of the garden. Isn't that wonderful? A double rainbow.

Suddenly this is a memoir in real time. The photograph accompanying this letter is the one I just ran into the garden to capture. Cheeks wet. Socks and sandals. The distant smell of bonfire in the distance. I guess this is what makes November special. It has been so heavy before that this moment of reprieve, of lightness and kaleidoscope, has caught me by surprise. And it is wonderful.

It is wonderfully sweet. Perhaps, November, you deserve a thank you.