By Margaret Miller, longtime Creston Valley resident
Well, 2021 is slipping by. October has passed with its pizzazz of orange leaves, Thanksgiving cheer, and Halloween fun and November has settled in.
For some, November is the ‘almost’ month. Almost wintertime. Almost solstice and the start of longer days. Almost time to play in powder snow, wax the skis, or strap on the snowshoes. Almost time to hang Christmas decorations and contemplate the New Year. Almost time to fill our pantries in preparation for college students returning home for winter break. Almost.
For me, November is much more than a month of anticipation. Much more than a wait-it-out kind of time. The temperature and snowline are dropping and the trees are bare, but good old November has a charm all its own and there’s a lot to be thankful for.
Leafless November is a month of plenty at my home. Stacked firewood fills one end of the carport and bags and jars of garden veggies wait in the basement. It’s a month of comfort with the crackle of the wood stove, mugs of tea, and brushed cotton sheets. The dry, hot days of a tougher than usual summer have passed and my long driveway likely won’t need to be plowed. Fingers crossed.
In November, I can draw breath and appreciate Mother Nature’s gentler moods. And I can take a break from watching for bears – and singing a verse or two of my favourite song – as I wander the trails and back roads near my home!
For some folk, November can be a ho-hum, mood-altering month. Too much grey, too many low clouds. Not enough sunshine or blue skies. Wind. Rain and more rain. But after the heatwave and wildfire season of 2021, this November’s precipitation is cause for celebration. Drizzle or downpours. Showers or squalls. We need them all. And if we listen very carefully, we might just be able to hear the forest’s sigh of relief and the water table gurgling with delight.
For the foodies among us, November is the month to comfortably return to the kitchen, to pull out pans and roasters and crank up the oven. It’s time to step back a little from the barbecue and salad meals and to re-introduce ourselves to hearty soups and stews. Roasts, home-baked bread or fresh scones in the heat of summer? Culinary discomfort. But in ‘almost’ month, these oven-made treats are spot on. As far as I’m concerned, a spicy curry tastes even more alluring during cooler evenings and roasted homegrown beets are a November treat fit for royalty.
November is also an exciting month for our valley’s arts and crafts community. On Saturday, Nov. 20, a popular Creston holiday tradition returns – the Arts and Craft Fair. A diverse range of talented vendors will display their goods for sale at the Creston & District Community Complex. It’s a great opportunity for residents to swing into the holiday season and to support local talent.
On the home front, ‘almost’ month is an opportunity to re-connect with those activities we tend to neglect when sunshine and warmth entice us outdoors. Knitting needles or quilting materials perhaps. Guitars or violins. Writing journals. Wood working tools, paints, or pool cues. There are a lot more exciting possibilities than the television remote control.
Of course, November includes one very significant day, observed this week on the 11th. Remembrance Day. Known in Canada as Armistice Day until 1931, this important day of commemoration honours the contributions, both past and present, of our service men and women. This month marked the 100th anniversary of the red poppy as a symbol of remembrance in Canada. Worn in many parts of the world, the poppy was adopted from a 1918 poem by Canadian field surgeon John McCrae.
On a very different note, this month marks a small anniversary of my own – two years as a columnist for this newspaper. Valley Views first appeared in December 2019 and this column is number 24. How time flies. Commenting on Creston Valley issues during an historic pandemic has been interesting and I thank those who have taken time to read and reflect on my views.
READ MORE: Valley Views: Word Watch