My husband calls this time of year in Vermont shoulder season. I’ve heard many people here call it stick season. I like my husband’s term better–it suggests a buffer or a softness that the word “stick” just doesn’t have. It’s shoulder season for me too, as I wait for edits on one book and map out another. It’s the beginning of my waiting time, heightened by Advent coming on. Today, feeling industrious, I sorted out all of my financial folders and prepped them for the new year. My goal always is to organize that part of our life so if anyone had to step in, he or she would understand immediately what needed to be done and what our current situation was. I remember my Mom’s organizing her files about this time every year when I was growing up. Perhaps you do the same. It certainly makes tax time easier. There are other things I do in November. I like to hoe out the pantry, getting rid of the spelt flour that was only used once in 2013, or recycling the Mason jar that held beets we forgot to eat. And I like to go through my closet, making a “pass it on” pile for things I don’t wear or that don’t fit. Somehow November is ripe for rituals in our house, perhaps even more so than at Christmas. Our leaves are raked now that our big oak has finished shedding. I still need to trim all the flowers in our numerous beds, but I’m waiting for a good frost to take care of the creepy crawlers that like to hide on the stems. I’ve misplaced my perfect black rubber garden boots, so that’s another reason for staying out of the gardens. (I know they’re not in the pantry!) For me, shoulder season is all about gently finishing up, and taking the time to slow down and reflect. Even now as I type, I’m being slowly sucked in by the call of a book and our comfortable chair near the pellet stove. I end with a compelling question: Is there cocoa in the house?
Lisa Monique Kent, Author of Peace Cottage and Vinehart Farm