November 15th, 2005

(I've tried patience)

All the white horses are still in bed

It's winter. Autumn didn't stay with us for long, did it? It's barely November, but all the same, it's definitely winter. The cold, welcome in autumn because it stilled the air so that leaves collapsed under your feet with an isolated, perfect crunch, is colder now. Look out of your window here in London and you'll see that most of the buildings have once again given up pretending to be anything other than places in and around which Dickens novels are set.

The trees, abandoned by all their leaves in a hopeless flurry, are like the castles of wizards in a particular kind of fantasy film; they stretch twisted black branch spires towards a sky that, even when blue, is grey. They look old, even in London, but then London looks its oldest in winter. It being November, there's no promise of snow, no bright-white skies that seem to let you breathe them in, nothing but resentment for the Christmas decorations, and no excuse to stay away from work, to spend one random spare day with your daughter on your lap watching some version of Narnia and explaining about fauns, or go and watch the effect winter has on graveyards, or letting someone bring you hot chocolate in bed and listening to them talk about what Christmas was like when they were six. November falls over itself in its attempts to be more unpleasant than February. Thomas Hood's little poem is oddly right in some places - November robs things and people of their shape and purpose and kindness.

And I'm having a November that's as hard and cold as the ground, right now. And I can't pretend I'm happy about it.

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