Recognizing the Season*
Updated: Nov 17
"Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar.
A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable, not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid.
“Oh my, she exclaims her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!”
“I knew it before I got out of bed,” she says, turning away from the window with a purposeful excitement in her eyes. “The courthouse bell sounded so cold and clear. And there were no birds singing; they’ve gone to warmer country, yes indeed. Oh, Buddy (as she called the Author) stop stuffing biscuit and fetch our buggy. Help me find my hat. We’ve thirty cakes to bake.”
And so begins one of the few books that Truman Capote ever wrote called “A Christmas Memory” that describes his early years being raised by an elderly distant cousin, Ms. Sook Faulk. Each year she recognized the arrival of “fruitcake season” and commenced baking fruit cakes that she distributed to people about whom she cared. She recognized the characteristics of “the season”: the courthouse bell sounding cold and clear, the leafless trees and the absence of birds singing. She knew that it was time.
There’s something to be said about the importance of “recognizing the seasons” in one’s life, especially when that season is so important, not only for you, but for so many others. We are in one such season now. “Late November” will be too late to recognize the season that we, as Americans, are in. November 9th will be too late. This November, even more importantly than the seasons of four, eight, twelve or more years ago, we must recognize the importance of this season, for it will dramatically affect the future of our country. We must choose the ingredients now, and let them rise in our collective consciousness before November 9th. Make that day a day of celebration. The season will be over.
Therefore, just as the baker must recognize the difference between “baking powder and baking soda,” we must recognize the difference between “love and hate,” and between “democrats and demagogues.”
Your choice can make life good for so many people.
Recognize the season.
*This blog was originally published on another platform in the fall of 2016.