The second of November is all kinds of holy. All the cultures in the world are celebrating death -- not death alone I mean, but also the kind of mystical magical spirit that persists after our deaths. All Soul's Day. Dia de los Muertos. Samhain. Annagrace said it this way, about Samhain, it's when "we decide what to feed and keep and what to kill so it can feed us."
And all the things around me seem like they are dying. The grapes are falling to their slow deaths underneath my arbor, the leaves are yellowing and falling to the ground, the figs have splotched into mold and stains on the sidewalk. My busy days as a bike tour guide are fading into slow and occasional rainy midday quiet at the shop, from long long weeks of sun worshiping and brown legs up on my pedals to the slick of city streets between breweries, raincoats and layers of scarves.
Oh but there's life here too. Everything is so busy, my children with their bouncing around the insides and outsides of my house, building spaceships out of bins and baskets, giggling their rainy way to the coffee shop for doughnuts with sprinkles. The mushrooms pushing their fantastical way out of all the decaying matter. If anything's in the spirit of the season the moss and mushrooms are. Reincarnation. Haunting. Fading in and out of reality in puffs of smoke or streaks of ink. And all that.
And I'm in a worshipful mood. If you blow out candles so oversized-for-their-purpose they make me laugh there, looking up at you all crinkly grey and wintery blue, what do you wish for? Is it immortality or godhood? can it be either/or?
I'll wish for this, then: More festivals of spirits and souls and gods and demi-gods. Sirens and mermaids and water-witches and wood-nymphs. More letting our bodies lie in with the lessening light, more hibernation, the sort of hibernation that leaves a candle maybe or a bedside lamp, a fire if we've got one, casting just enough light so we can see the colors of each other's eyes, and some of what's inside them. I do so like to look in eyes. We don't need furs or feathers -- we've got blankets and pillows a-plenty -- I'll get up before you and wash the dishes and make coffee. Watch the rain splatter the windows and pick rosemary and pine needles for tea. In the afternoon quiet after a hike maybe, replete with leather boots and coats and moss-hunting, I'll make something for dinner, something fit only for a hibernator, lots of butterfat and vegetables and bone broths. Crusty bread or I'll bake something.
We'll learn how to do everything ourselves. Build walls and brew beer and identify mushrooms. Pack the cozy house with people we love, like one of my dreams, all unclear relationships but unlike my dreams we all want to be here. I'll tell stories and I'll keep having to tell everyone to listen! if I'm saying something important and you'll tell stories to make me laugh. We'll have the record player and we'll play music from all over the centuries, because that's one way to immortality you know. What era are we from, really? Past or present or future? Earth or somewhere beyond the moon?
That's what I think we need to do. Worship the light, and by that I mean let it tell us what to do, when to rise and when to lie, exposed in all the right ways, under the covers for hours and hours and hours. If the sun doesn't wake us, don't wake, or if we wake, stay there and whisper and feel the sacred healing magic of skin against skin. I believe in skin-to-skin contact, you know. Not just for babies and hypothermia emergencies but for everyday healing. This magic isn't the witch doctor shouting and hollering, hunting for rare herbs and singing just the right words, no, it's the quiet witchy bedtime care, tea made from weeds that grow any old place, the fingertips tracing contours. It doesn't even matter the patterns or pressure points, it's all surface area and time and of course love.
I wrote about this recently, something like, my honey-heart's spilling all over my belly and thighs, it's become a salve that comes off on my fingers, when I touch you, you see into me. So the skin magic works the other way too, and maybe it means I can spend less time running around chasing things. Like Rumi says, "There is that in me that has to be told 50 times a day, Stop hunting. Step on this net."
I've been so afraid but this is what the lessening light says, it tells me, relax your shoulders and let your bow go slack. I keep asking anyone who'll listen, can the net hold me? Do we ever get to know?
The arrows clatter to the ground and I give in. Throw my arms up over my head not in fear but in that other sort of surrender. Now, we wait, whisper to our gods of now and the future, see what it is the light holds for us.comments powered by Disqus