An abstract image of autumn leaves
Photo by Anastasia Walker

The other day I watched a video about how time seems to go by faster the older we get. I definitely feel that. Where does the time go?

As time moves on, I like to mark the milestones along the way.

It’s the second November of the pandemic. That’s kind of a milestone. How many more Novembers before the old ways begin to fade? I already feel that to some extent and mostly feel comfortable with a new way of living, working, and being. Next November, certain things about the before times will seem even more distant. But there is also a sadness.

I searched my music collection for songs with November in the title just to see what kind of thoughts and feelings others have conjured up for this penultimate month.

I played Rod McKuen’s “November Resolution.” From his Home To The Sea album, a spoken-word record of McKuen’s poetry set to music by Anita Kerr, it’s a lonesome poem (as are most McKuen poems) backed by a melancholy instrumental. The poem’s imagery is about the rain more than it is about the sea. Of course, there’s perhaps the most famous November song by Guns N Roses: “November Rain.” A far cry from McKuen, but both pieces suggest that love is never far from sadness.

This is the kind of dance I often find myself in when searching my music collection!

There’s a poem titled “November’s Child” from Anastasia Walker’s forthcoming debut collection, The Girl Who Wasn’t and Is, where she speaks of “the shivering sun / of an autumn twilight.” It’s a chilling image that feels imbued with the inevitability of sadness. There’s no rain here, though I can’t help but think the ground is wet, having soaked up the storm before the poem began, ready to give birth to something new. After all, twilight is a time of transformation.

I can’t escape the thought of rain and its allure as a potent symbol. Like sadness, like love–here it comes again, part of the natural cycle. Like autumn. Like twilight. Year after year, even as the months between seem to get shorter, let us remember November’s past, knowing it will come around again all too soon.

Anastasia Walker’s book will be published on 4 February 2022.