My Mother’s birthday was day before Halloween. She would have been 104 were she alive. Yesterday was Halloween or Samhain, which was the birthday of my best friend in High School during those tumultuous teenage years. She died when she was 21. She would have been 62. Today is All Souls Day and the Day of the Dead when we are to celebrate our dear departed family and friends.
Even though I cannot walk in the Tucson All Souls Procession this year, I feel near to my family who have passed on; close to all those of my generation or older in my immediate family of birth. They are close by. I feel them in a way that is no longer focused on absence, but rather about the complex and countless ways they remain with me always.
Late Autumn is when a sliver of golden light hints at a brother standing in the drive of the home he built, or another brother almost visible at the edge of the woods as he heads to his deer stand. Dad is just over the hill and headed back from the fields on the John Deere. Cinnamon and nutmeg from Mom’s pumpkin pie wafts by beckoning me to a family dinner.
November arrives, families gather, and time and space collapse into an ever-present now and here in which we were and are.
The here and now may be just stacked, jumbles of caste iron, disintegrating fabric, and wood abandoned even by powder post beetles, but these bits of matter hold the echoing touch of the energy of lives.
Love was resident, yes, but so much work, the sun to moon sweat of those who plowed and planted, cared for lives, harvested, preserved, and cured. Lives were built and lived with strength and tenacity. Legacy was carefully arranged, packed away and marked with the names of those intended to inherit. Then the scattering, the dispersal, and even the few pennies that were not pilfered but left to be scoured by the wind or gather dust in forgotten corners.
The harvest in, food is abundant, and there is time to feast and remember. The day for all souls, a day for the living, and a day for the dead.
Be at peace.