The year's 11th month is the most atmospheric. In the Northeast, early darkness is forced upon us with the return to standard time. A peek outside a sunny window at 4:00 pm turns stark and foreboding fifteen minutes later, when bare branches turn the sky into a cover of an English Lit paperback of Edgar Allen Poe stories. Time stands still for a week or two, even as the holidays bear down. We are gifted a reprieve with nothing much to do except make holiday lists and dreamy plans. Before Thanksgiving, it is time to slow down, surrender and let the darkness have its way.
The storied birds may be seen as an icon of time's fragility but I welcome them as a reminder of my favorite holidays and my ever-increasing desire to make each moment count, especially now when the world is so brittle and tenuous. The starlings won't stay much beyond November - but the fancies borne of my overarching lists may bring long-remembered comfort and joy to those I love so deeply. As I plan and quietly watch, I keep this in mind.