Monday 11 November 2019

Dispelling November Gloom

I don't think April is the cruelest month. The cruelest month is most definitely November, especially in a northern country like Scotland when the sun starts setting at 4 PM. By the end of the month the sun will set at 3:45 PM. Then there's the rain. And the cold. And British concepts of indoor home heating. There's a reason Harry Potter was written in Edinburgh cafes.

Our radiators aren't working, but I am procrastinating from calling the plumbers because it's warm only in bed and I still can't understand Scottish Plumber over the phone. I have a cold, and all the Catholics blogs and news sites to the right of Daniel Berrigan are apocalyptic. No hideous Church story goes unreported, right down to a potentially obscene Station of the Cross in, naturally,  Germany. (It might be, but it might just be the viewer's interpretation.)  It's like being covered in boils and yet finding a new and worse one.

I started keeping a list of one bright spot in every November day: holly berries, a pied wag-tail,  bright yellow beeches, Christmas lights in Poundland.

Naturally I go to exercise classes--although it is fortunate I didn't sign up for one today as my head hurts. All the experts seem to agree that exercise is a mood-lifter.

Another mood-lifter is writing stories. One of my young homeschooled pupils was too sick for a lesson last week, so I wrote him a story, starring him at age 19. Naturally his future self is at Oxford University, but he is also a detective and a cook at a Mexican restaurant. His actual self enjoys classic adventure stories, and he wrote a good one for Writing Class in which his hero crosses the Laconda jungle.

I worked on my story on bus trips to and from classes, and so I have to admit that this was a good weekend despite the cold radiators, catching a cold, and the daily additions to the apocalyptic genre of religion reporting. Yesterday, the boy having recovered from flu, I read the story aloud to both of my pupils as part of a lesson on "Dialogue." One or two of their siblings came creeping in to hear it, too.

Cheerful children are also dispellers of November gloom unless, I suppose, you have postpartum depression or some other illness like that.

Another mood-lifter is appreciation for one's work, and I see that my LSN article on the Traditional Latin Mass has been shared on Facebook a thousand times now. That is by no means a big number of shares for an LSN piece, but it is at least a sign people liked it.

I wish now I had added a few more details that are obvious to me but would not be to people who have never been to a TLM before. The most important are that the TLM works according to the Old Calendar, not the New, and that the readings are different from those said during the Ordinary Form. When I was a child, I was impressed by the fact that "The readings are the same all over the world" in the same way past generations bragged that the Mass was the same over all the world. Well, the readings are only the same depending on which Form you attend. There are no Years A, B and C in the Extraordinary Form.

Meanwhile, I would love to turn off the firehose of bad news and just go about having an ordinary, friendly life with lots of dinner parties and meeting people for coffee. Unfortunately, that is now impossible. For one thing, it would be like being a young British or French man of military age who waited out Second World War on the sunny beaches of Spain.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dorothy- your blog and your LSN pieces are a treat for me. I always look forward to your stories and love your humour!!!! Let us not despair and let us trust in God. Blessing from "freezing" Toronto.