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The ninth month of the year, before the Julians changed the calendar, promoting their household, claiming the glories of high summer for their own: Julius, Augustus….
November, ninth month, one could call it “term.” A welcome arrival, when development leads to fruition and fruition leads to birth.
November, ninth month, pushed ahead. Relegated to the Fall-of-the-year, to that time when the glow of fulfillment has faded and the eventual closing-in and collapse of abundance starts to bite in earnest.
A time of lack. No light, no warmth, no harvest; but frost and a cold, silvery moon.
To the Julians it was clear they were claiming a high point for their age. They understood. After them would come a reckoning, a Fall, an Autumn.
This Autumn of ours caught us by surprise. This was not what we expected. No matter what signs and portents. Not so much…. No matter; but we have grown so accustomed to looking ahead; ever faster, ever farther.
And always seeing, reflected in that deceiving mirror, only what we want to see. Visions of Augustan triumphs following each Julian consolidation of power. The results compound like the figures in our ledgers endlessly reaching for the impossible and seemingly getting there.
No wonder we did not see what we were forging, hidden inside our dreams, the only possible result of all our striving.
November. Ninth month. Too late to mistake a mild afternoon for the return of harvest’s bounty.
Even as things get hotter, we experience so much of this as a descent into winter. Desert people would have a more apt image perhaps, for when the brief cool and moisture of a precocious Spring withers into a blazing dry and barren summer.
We enter this tale in November. We do not know where it leads.
We can only be certain it does not lead back to anything we would recognize. It is only after some far-off new Spring has accommodated with the ravages of this long, dead season that it can ever again become clear how this particular dark harvest, this slim chance of any regrowth, was necessary. That it could have been arrived at in no other way.
From here, all we can see is what has been lost, what continues to be at risk. All vectors head away from any possible promise.
November. Ninth month. We do have practice at this sort of thing. We have often had to negotiate a time when good-news was scarce. When there were no signs of hope.
A good thing. We have always needed some way to adjust our proclivity to settle into expectations and wallow in the sterile seductions of maximizing our imagined delights at the expense of our real treasure.
Even now, this November upon us, it is dawning clarity that we are more alive in this time of contraction than in the queasy midst of heady surfeit and undemanding ease which brought us here.
We find our strength, instead of looking for some advantage.
We find each other, and in so doing, recognize what we’ve been so sorely lacking; what drove the manias that brought us here.
November. Ninth month, no longer.
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