This picture isn’t an obvious match to the post, but it makes sense, I promise. Charlie and I were chasing the last few rays of daylight at the park on what was probably one of the few park-weather days we have left this year.

I’ve always thought of myself as one of those people who looooooooves the transitions into the colder seasons. I’m not terribly outdoorsy, so I generally think of bundling up in a cozy blanket with a hot beverage and a book when I think of Fall and Winter.

I’m not sure why I still feel that way, considering the fact that cold weather mostly means that Charlie will go from jumping off of things outside to jumping off of the couch cushions all winter long. What Winter means in parenting reality is that we will probably be in the pediatrician’s office once every week and a half, and my pant legs will be consistently wet all the way up to the tops of my shins once it starts actually snowing.

I really wish I would have started blogging earlier in my life, like in college. Of course, in college, blogging seemed like the STUPIDEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF EVER, so the quality of the posts may not have been the best.

If I had some blog posts from college to read, I think it would hammer home even harder the fact that November (despite all the gorgeous fall-ness) always gives me a run for my money. It seems to be a very intense month for me, despite all of the quietly beautiful things like leaves falling and the air becoming crisp. I think the fact that I’ve always been in an academic setting has something to do with it. My parents were both teachers, I went to college for an “extra” year, and now Paul is a grad student. November means that there are some VERY BIG breaks coming up, and it usually means that your weeks are going to be so filled with work that the breaks almost don’t seem worth it. They are totally worth it, the breaks, but beforehand it sure doesn’t feel like it.

What makes it harder is that, while it’s very stressful in a negative way, it tends to be equally as stressful in a creative way. I’ve been going through all of my blog posts from the past three years, and every November has proved to be the same. I’m always torn between real-life stress and the stress to make my creative goals real-life. This tug-of-war between something so good and something so stressful makes it easy to get negative.

Those other years, though, I don’t think I really had any perspective. I’ve been pretty grumpy about the fact that I’ve had to go through each of my blog posts one by one (I’ll tell you why later . . . spoilers), but really what it’s done is show me the obvious cyclical nature of my life. Every year around this time I start to feel a little panicky, and every year it gets better. Every year, November makes me feel like my quest to do something artistic with my life gets drowned in obligations, and every year I end up coming out of it a few steps closer to my goals.
But, oh my crap, it’s hard to realize that at the time.

This whole thing makes me think of our yard. We’ve got this GIANT oak tree (well, significantly less giant after this summer’s roof-puncturing fiasco) next to our house, and this is an experience that I’ve never been familiar with until we moved here. Acorns are terrifying. They fall so hard that they put dings in our windshield. They hurt like hell when you step on them without shoes on, and they are like baby magnets for small children who are at the stage in which everything goes into their mouths. And, I’m serious, it sounds like you have herds of dinosaurs or robbers straight out of Rescue 911 on your roof sometimes.

But, it seems like the tree saves up for this huge, gorgeous leaf drop, and it all happens in November. Once those leaves fall, it’s time to rake ‘em up and jump right back into them. I’d totally be a liar if I tried to make it sound like I do most of the leaf-raking, because it’s definitely Paul . . . but that doesn’t make those big ol’ piles of leaves any less satisfying to jump into.

What’s important is that there are more leaves than acorns, despite the fact that the acorns are much better at making themselves heard.