It’s November, slouching toward December. It’s cold and we’ve had snow. So far the snow has helped the male resident of a certain house on Engelwood Drive avoid the final leaf-raking of the year. But nothing lasts forever. The snow will go away. The leaves will remain. Nancy will demand that I get involved with yard work after adroitly ignoring most of it through the good, warm days by going to work in the Missourinet newsroom.
November is an awkward month. It’s not quite official Winter yet. But it sure has quit feeling like Autumn. We have discovered why November leaves people a little unsettled.
Famous author Kurt Vonnegut theorized there are six seasons, not four. He has a valid point.
We picked up a little book a few weeks ago called “If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?” It’s a compilation of nine graduation speeches Vonnegut gave. As with all great speech-givers, he borrows from himself from time to time but he always has something new to add, depending on the audience. In his speech to graduates of Fredonia College in Fredonia, New York (Does anybody else think of the Marx Brothers’ movie “Duck Soup” at this point?) in 1978, Vonnegut told them:
“There are six seasons instead of four. The poetry of four seasons is all wrong for this part of the planet, and this may explain why we are so depressed so much of the time. I mean, Spring doesn’t feel like Spring a lot of the time, and November is all wrong for Fall and so on. Here is the truth about the seasons.
“Spring is May and June! What could be Springier than May and June? Summer is July and August. Really hot, right? Autumn is September and October. See the pumpkins? Smell those burning leaves. Next comes the season called “Locking.” That is when Nature shuts everything down. November and December aren’t Winter. They’re Locking. Next comes Winter, January and February. Boy! Are they ever cold! What comes next? Not Spring. Unlocking comes next. What else could April be?”
March, too, is “Unlocking.” March isn’t quite winter anymore and can tempt us with the idea that Winter is gone. Life begins a serious return in April. That makes a lot more sense than the Solstice thing. It never makes sense to have the days start getting longer as the weather gets colder or for the days to start getting shorter as the weather gets hotter. Oh, we know the days remain 24 hours long but you know what we’re talking about.
So this is the season of Locking. Wish I could lock up the rake. But I think Nancy has the only key.