Woke up to a new month and deep gratitude that it was not November 2020. Then the air was thick with anxiety, with the toxic particles from centuries of misguided thinking gathering in the person of someone who never should have been elected to office hoping to continue his wanton destruction. Someone who broke every one of the Ten Commandments, gleefully embodied each of the Seven Deadly Sins, who stood in direct opposition to the values of indigenous cultures and enlightened Western thinkers—care for the commons, cooperation, patience, listening, humility, sharing, inclusion, collaboration. Had the worst happened, our edging toward catastrophe would have been geometrically accelerated. And even when the best happened, an entire political party still blindly loyal to his insanity, joined by two reprehensible Democrats, are doing everything they can to bring our democracy, the world and the earth to its knees.
So with the anniversary of our turn toward hope upon us, a good reminder that release from the horror of the national mood held captive to a raving Tweeter, while to be noted and appreciated, is not a reason for complacency. The work continues and our participation in it is needed. On all levels.
November is not just the time for the voting booth, but also the time for the giving of thanks and the turn towards the darkness, the descent with the year into the source of our renewal. Our refusal to align ourselves with the Earth’s seasonal cycle, our insistence on keeping the bright lights in the mall on to avoid the both the grief and deep comfort of the dark, is a refusal of sorts to vote for life.
For me, November is also the time of the annual Orff Conference, a gathering I have loved and looked forward to each of 38 years. It was online last year, which means it really didn’t happen at all. But though severely reduced—from 2000 people at its height to perhaps 500 people coming to Charleston, South Carolina—I eagerly await this small sign of return to a normalcy that serves my particular path of restoring the world. November is also the birthday month of my daughter, granddaughter and nephew, and was for my Dad and father-in-law. And of course, the annual ritual meal with my sister and her family. Also the Day of the Dead celebration in San Francisco and a reminder to feel the presence of the departed in my life and keep the lines of communication open between the two worlds.
And so the many faces of November greet me on this overcast, chilly morning. Nine bows to them all.