November in northern Illinois is not my favorite time of year. We probably average six hours of sunshine during the entire month. The overcast skies exude a thin drizzle; if not actual precipitation, then just a cold damp feeling that works its way into your bone marrow. As the wind picks up and the temperature drops, we can expect the first flurries of the season. Flurries don’t count as real snow. They melt before they hit the ground, leaving you to question your sanity. Did I see snow out there or was it just my imagination? Daylight Savings Time is finally over and the light of day peters out shortly after four o’clock in the afternoon. People are tired, weary and depressed as they realize it might be time to put their fall jacket away.
That’s not a decision to be made lightly; there’s more to it than just migrating your car keys and pocket change. It represents a mind shift. Winter doesn’t just show up here and stay through spring. It comes and it goes.
We had the most beautiful Halloween weather I can remember in my entire life. Daniel and I roamed the neighborhood as sunny skies turned into a clear moonlit evening. I wore a long sleeve shirt, but no jacket. Daniel complained his vinyl Jango Fett costume was too warm to wear. The next morning was Daniel’s last flag football game. I struggled to work my camcorder with numbed hands as the temperature hovered around freezing and the wind whipped across the denuded farm fields surrounding the new junior high school. My jacket provided me no protection from the elements and I was glad to get home, start the editing process and defrost. The next afternoon was sunny and downright hot. Daniel helped me mow the lawn for what I hope is the last time this year. As we slogged back and forth across the yard, we both ended up taking off our jackets and finishing up the backyard in T-shirts.
Even now, when we’ve had lousy weather consistently for a week or more, there is still that feeling in the back of my mind this could just be temporary. There may be more Indian Summer left on the calendar. I’m not the only one who feels this way. I see people bracing themselves against the winter wind, sleet peppering their faces as they try to wrap their windbreaker around their bodies like a tourniquet. Is it uncomfortable? Sure. But it’s somehow easier to bear than the thought that you will hang up that jacket and not put it on again until sometime in 2009. That just seems too much like surrender.