On Hallow’s Eve ghosts and monsters threaten our neighborhood streets and doorsteps. Fortunately, these goblins are easily deterred. Sweet gifts return them to their quest for the redemption required to reach a peaceful eternal sleep. Laughing at my imagery, I believe, perhaps, a change from my diet of gothic novels is well overdue. For in truth, on Halloween, we celebrate darkness’ arrival brought about by our solar system’s seasonal choreography, and we celebrate the promise of renewal, as well as death’s significance.
Recently, I visited my friends at Live Power Community Farm, and the changing season was evident: shorter, warmer days; longer, colder nights; clear skies on Thursday; rain clouds on Friday; and the sky at night graced by Orion the hunter. As I wandered the farm, I was struck by the iconic imagery of death around me: shed snake-skins, cow skulls on the compost pile, and dried cornhusks in the fields. The signs of renewal were equally abundant: spring-like flowers bloomed near rows of pumpkins; the farmer and his horses sowing fields with alfalfa seed to nurture the soil; and the milk cow lumbering to the barn, because she walks for two as her calf will be born in the Spring.
Belief in renewal is essential to living. Daily life brings both sorrow and joy; twenty-four hours a cycle of symbolic deaths and rebirths. The key is keeping confidence in continual change; it is good, it is necessary. The past, present and future tense bleed one to the other; each exhale a symbolic death, each breath a renewal of life.
In his poem From the Mercury Fountain, Mahmoud, in his book Thread Michael Palmer wrote:
“…..present, infinite presents threading
now forward, now back. Amidst the
shattered symmetries and scattered fictions,
between actual river and imagined shore,
actual breath of wind through the frayed,
half open curtain…..”