Tuesday, October 31, 2017

...Ready for it

Today, I've been a bit confused.

The calendar says it's Halloween. So too do the dishes of candy and chocolates, scattered about work, and all of the wee buggers, trotting about in their various costumes. But when I step outside, what I think is, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

As much as I love this place, I can't deny the fact that most of my life has been spent in warm climates. 19 years in Florida, most Halloweens being gross and humid. 9 years in California, most Halloweens being toasty and "oh it's a dry heat" and still feeling like hell. So when I step outside on Halloween morn, and see that my windshield is coated in a layer of ice, and realize that my long wool coat might not be enough to withstand the morning's chill...I'm a little con-fuddled. My body, my personal history, they tell me it's Christmas, even though my life now tells me, "Happy Halloweenie!"

(It's also worth mentioning that we are forecasted to get a wintry mix of precipitation late tonight. YAAAAAAAAAS.)

What I've noticed is that October tends to be a pretty busy time for me--even without the job and two side-hustles I've got going on right now. I'd love to say that I read a dozen books and cooked some amazing meals and crafted some lovely creations and so on, but that's just not the case. I do my work--buying media (we are at the end of the spending cycle), teaching my class, doing a bit of caregiving for my former boss. I socialize with my aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Indiana and their son, and a few other friends. I pursue some fall adventures, like watching scary movies and frolicking in a picked-over orchard. I scold the cats and watch "The West Wing" and think about simpler presidencies, and I try to enjoy the fall as it creeps in.

I attend an utterly magical play with my D'uncle, and remember the line, "It's supposed to hurt...that's how you know it meant something."

I laugh with my friends, and try to focus on the day at hand, and not look back too much on past Octobers, or worry too much about Octobers ahead. I love the thought of homes, cozy and welcoming in the darkening nights; I turn my collar up and face the cold. Some folks believe that Halloween is the witch's New Year, and while I haven't been witchy-poo enough in a long time to adhere to that, a very big part of me hopes that this Halloween is a new year, and that the various shit--physical sickness, political insanity, personal betrayals and disappointments--that have sprung up since last October are now drawing to their close. We will see.

But I gotta admit...I'm ready for it.

Monday, October 2, 2017

On Being Alive

This might be my favorite time of the year,  these early days of autumn. The mornings and evenings are cool--a couple of times, now, they've even been chilly--but days are still warm. And yet...the late afternoon sunlight is a particularly brilliant yet gentle golden, as though it's apologizing for the harsh summer months and trying to encourage us to soak up what little warmth remains before winter sets in. The crickets still chirp at night; not the loud clamor of high summer, and rather fewer of them, but they are still their, making their noises quietly and persistently as though saying, "We will continue our song until the bitter end."

It's a beautiful early fall evening right now, and I am reminded of a fall evening from my very early years. It must be one of my very first memories--I was three, or perhaps four. We were still living in Ohio. My mom was getting me ready for bed, and insisting I wear an undershirt under my nightgown because the nights were getting cooler. I remember looking over her shoulder at the open window in my bedroom, seeing the dark night beyond my cozy little world, feeling the chill night air, knowing she was right.

It's a beautiful fall evening right now, and for me at least, it is a beautiful day to be alive. And oh, how rotten I feel, thinking that. At least 59 people are no longer here to enjoy life on this peaceful evening. Their lives ended yesterday, their peace shattered. I wish that I could believe that they have never-ending peace, now, but I don't have any certainty of that. I know that we who are left have even less peace and security than we had before (and really, those were and are only illusions), and I know that many of us sit in our homes, and look out our open windows into the chilly autumn evening, and know that it's a dark night that lies beyond our cozy little world. And not all of us have the privilege of a cozy little world.

I'm sad, I'm distressed, I'm exhausted. I imagine most of us are--and probably for a lot longer than just the last 24 hours. I don't know what to do; I only know that I can close my eyes against this gentle autumn night and wake tomorrow and rise and meet the day with a desire to act with courage and a strong moral compass and compassion. Maybe that's all I can do. Maybe that's all any of us can do. Or maybe that that is the bare frickin minimum.

May we all retire to our beds tonight, safe and loved. May we all wake tomorrow to wrest whatever beauty we can from this chaotic world. May we all survive to see another beautiful autumn evening tomorrow. And may we rest our heads tomorrow night knowing we did all we personally could to set this world to rights.