November – Vinicer

A picture that a friend posted on Facebook made me feel misty and longing for the autumn I knew from back home in Romania. And it reminded me of November.

As a kid, misty-like November always confused me. It was biting my fingers with its frost in the morning while I would look at the silver forest, covered in needles, in awe of its colour, and then at lunchtime the Sun would melt the silver into mud and I would, once again, feel so transient.

I could never quite grasp November, never understood the point of it being there. Feeling too cold and too hot in the same time… my senses definitely refused to multitask. Then, eons later when I discovered Wellington with its famous five seasons in one day: spring, summer, autumn, winter and Monsoon, November felt less incomprehensible.

Romanian November showed up in dubious colours: grey and black. Frost, chernozem, dead forest leaves, and the river, was all that was left of life, and from the clouds to the land it all felt metallic and heavy…, which is why as a kid November made me always question the rainbow. Was the rainbow real or just a dream of mine?

The soggy feeling of the coloured wool jersey rubbing onto my sweaty skin as I was running in November’s afternoon Sun always made me wonder if the only real colours were just hiding inside me.

Trapped in November

Running was not a November-thing-to-do. Feeling trapped inside muddy and heavy shoes is all I can recall about it. How I dreaded feeling trapped! Cold forced me to keep the shoes on my feet. Breaking free of shoes, like I used to do in the summertime, was not an option, instead I dragged all that heaviness with me wherever I went… Later on, when not even the Sun could unfreeze the land, my November shoes felt to me light again but always hiding toes that were too cold underneath.

I resented November for making me feel stretched, by pushing my boundaries back, little that I knew about that then! I felt upset on it for forcing me to make choices between things I did not understand nor wanted: black or white but not rainbow, hot or cold but not cozy. I resented it for leaving me no choice but to choose between stuff I did not like, as if I were under a spell. Magical and secretive in its misty disposition, saber – sharp November demanded of me all or nothing and quick! And I always felt compelled to obey it.

I discovered only years later that mysterious and allusive November carries the secrets for the making of the most coveted potion of the mankind. The frost-bearing November, ‘Brumar’ is also called ‘Vinar’, The-Wine-Maker! The grape juice was then, and only then, transmuted into wine – the sacred beverage used a long time ago for the rituals of the Thracian God, Dionysos. They say, Dionysos’s blood – wine, makes you immortal. To my Thracian – Dacian ancestors the wine was sacred too, as wine exposes lies and defeats spells. Wine was the only drink that could go to the underworld, the only drink that if dripped onto the ground as offering, it could have been drank by the dead!

And even the stars of November’s sky, were in that part of the world, luminaries for the dead. As it’s only in November’s evening sky that the Pleiades lay low on the horizon, to tell about Halloween, a long forgotten glimpse into the underworld.

The stars of November - Pleiades
The stars of November – Pleiades

I know now that ‘cozy’ and ‘rainbow’ are made of extremes, by mixing together the raw essences of things. I miss feeling wild, in-taking all that November raw through me, as I did once only by breathing into its wind! The other raw month I can think about for the sake of the argument, March, has life inside it coming up through all the cracks of Earth. November on the other hand feels like a battlefield for life inside of a dead dominion. The dominion of No-Man’s-Land which became my training ground for facing all fears I’ve ever defeated.

Rough and mystical, November feels now sacred to me, for all that I learned from it, and I am grateful to November for pushing my boundaries and for not giving me the choice to quit. And I miss so much diving into it as I once did as a kid.