Oct 29, 2013
Last October Eves
I was out in the back yard early this evening. I watched as the light fled from the approaching dusk, and felt the temperature drop so swiftly that it startled me. One moment I was eating blood-red raspberries from the canes rescued from an abandoned lot, and the next I was staring at my misty breath hanging in the air.
I noticed that, not too far from the still-producing raspberries, the rhubarb has died off. The impossible to kill plant is one of the first to return in the early spring, but I'm in awe of how completely dead it looks now. Not an ounce of life appears to remain in its withered leaves that are already prostrate on the earth, preparing to become a part of it again.
Across the yard, the sunflowers still follow the short and swift path of the sun, blooming as if they had all the time in the world. The chickweed looks better than it has all summer. The yarrow is bright and bushy again, growing a second crop of fuzzy leaves, while the skullcap has long dropped its foliage and looks like a tiny barren forest.
What a strange thing to see so much green and brown, life and death, and smell rot right alongside ripe apples and savory onions and the last of the kitchen herbs, lingering in their pots. An odd yet delightful time of last tastes and thresholds.
We are wading deeper and deeper into the dark now, but there are plenty of opportunities for feast and celebration. While we mark departures on one hand, we note the return of (and negotiate our peace or passion with) the shadows and those that live and thrive within them.
Do you wander out into the dark and meet the ones who preside there? Or sit by a candle, having made your offerings, and spend time with familiar spirits? There is no wrong answer. This time of year invites as much good-company-keeping as it does mischief.
Whether you join the goblins running amok this week, or simply offer a spirit plate to those passing by, no longer in the flesh, I do hope you find much magic on these last October eves.