November 1st, 2008

Book Cover

Samhain - welcoming the dark -

It is a special day in many cultures, those with long, hard, dark winters. The harvest is considered and apportioned as to survival.  It is the welcoming of the dark, and bonfires are lit to beckon everyone to celebration and perhaps unity and connection too.   I lit candles last night and let them burn down to the end.   Perhaps it is a time to recognize that we, too, will be all used up.   Studs Terkel died, and I just viewed some photos of Marion Rosen, who is 93 and still teaching.   Our elders inspire.  

The economic news is frightening.  I went to the grocery yesterday and my favorite checker said three managers had been laid off and her hours cut.  She asked me how she could survive on 24 hours a week.   We are moving into our own tightening and yet we will have a president who inspires, who is a fire in the night, a light.  There is a re-balancing that needs to occur.

The CEO of Lehmann Brothers, Mr. Fuld,  made obscene amounts of money these last eight years.  For him, cutting back is selling part of his art collection.   When is it a crime to raid the cookie jar as the company goes down?

In Italy, the art is held in trust for the world.   It is not gathered for display in private homes, but shared, offered to unite and inspire.

I am again awake in the night, confused perhaps as to light and dark.  I know it is morning in Rome.   I see the light in the sky there, on the river, buildings, streets.  It is dark here, cold.  

I am struggling perhaps with what it means to step into an open metal blade and fly around the world.  It is so odd to see the doors close, and then, there is a manipulation of time through movies and books, and the doors open and you are somewhere else.  We came home through London and heard there was snow that morning, but we never left the airport.   I saw the huge Ferris wheel, the London Eye, the Millennium Wheel when we flew in, and yet, how is my body to understand and assimilate what has, and is going on.  I feel like the person in Star Trek who is beamed up, but not completely.   There is distortion in my molecules, an odd sparkling, too much open space.

Being in Italy is like flying through centuries.  Then, one gets on an airplane and flies over country after country, and over the sea.  No wonder again night is my light and I am awake, open to receive.

I am participating in a meditation retreat today.  It feels right to bring me back, or perhaps to allow me to feel brought back. 

What I do know is that there is a comfort to home.   I saw my local grocery store with new eyes, and my walk to the junction in the soft rain was just right.   I am one who loves and appreciates the knowing comfort of home and my plans are to be here for awhile, or as long, as change allows.

Perhaps that is what I am trying to say.  I feel the preciousness of life, the fragility, and the importance of connection, of acknowledgment of all of us connected, connected by what happened and happens in Rome, then, and now, and what happens here, where we are.

Yesterday, a child, dressed at a kitten, offered us candy from her pumpkin.  Her mother said she was learning to share, though when we turned down the candy, the mother said to the child, "See, they know it is not good for them."   It is a new way of teaching.  The child was too young, most likely to understand, or maybe not.  Perhaps the lesson of going up to strangers and offering them to take what you have is how the new world is sprung, this new world that comes.

Blessings for and to us all!

ashes and snow - wings

A Day to Honor the Dead!

November 1st is a day to honor the dead.    This column says it well, though I wonder where he is finding penny candy.  I think that, too, is long past.   I am one who enjoys cemeteries, people at rest.

Op-Ed Contributor

A Date With the Departed

Published: November 1, 2008

Milford, Mich.

THE pumpkins, penny candy and neighborly hordes of goblins and ghosts shouting “Trick or treat!” remind us of the ancients and their belief that the souls of the dead must be appeased. But it’s the days that follow Halloween that most interest me.

All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are time set aside to broker peace between the living and the dead. Whether you are pagan or religious, Celt or Christian, New Age believer or doubter-at-large, these are the days when you traditionally acknowledge that the gone are not forgotten. The seasonal metaphors of reaping and rotting, harvest and darkness, leaf-fall and killing frost supply us with plentiful memento mori. Whatever is or isn’t there when we die, death both frightens and excites us.

Thus, throughout most of the Western world, graves are decorated on these first days of November with candles and fresh flowers. Picnics are held among the old stones and markers, relatives gather round family plots to give the dead their due of prayers and remembrances.


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