Soon the time of the Celtic New Year will be upon us. While the coronavirus may alter the way in which most of us experience Halloween, this magickal celebration of the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the dark time of the year can still be experienced with joy and anticipation.
We may not see the same numbers of trick-or-treaters this year, but we are prepared for those who do come to our Gingerbread House. The house and yard are decorated and we will be dressed in our costumes and be outdoors, masked and gloved, ready to launch candy down the length of gutter into the waiting bags of trick-or-treaters.
For most of us, Trick-or-treating has become the face of Halloween, but for others of us Halloween, or Samhain, is also a time to say goodbye to the growing season and the times of harvest, to remember loved ones who have passed, and to begin the process of welcoming the dark time. Not “dark” in the sense of “bad,” or “sad,” but dark in the sense of both literal darkness, as the daylight lessens to the shortest day of the year, as well as figurative darkness, when we have the opportunity to go within and reflect, nest, incubate thoughts and dreams, rest and prepare for the return of the sun.
Samhain gives us an opportunity to celebrate with hot mulled cider, apple pie or crisp, home baked bread and stews, a fire in the heat stove or in the fire pit out in the backyard.
Light candles, bring out the wool blankets and shawls. Cozy up in a favorite chair with a hot cup of tea or chocolate, a good book, and a pet or two. Take a walk in the slanting golden light of fall. Scuff your feet in the crunchy leaves. Inhale deeply the scents of dried leaves and woodsmoke.
The gardener in me feels somewhat sad at the end of the growing season. I find that I long for sunshine and green, growing things-especially as fall turns to the long Maine winter. I tend to use this time to plan for next year. I pull out magazines, look at Pinterest and Instagram, and immerse myself in the images of beautiful gardens spaces. I make lists of plants I want and things I need to do, new spaces I want to create.
As an artist and craftswoman who often works with concrete, I await the next year when once again I can get Jemima, my cement mixer, up and running as I craft new concrete Garden Leaves. For now, I turn my thoughts and hands to other artistic endeavors: painting, drawing, working with copper wire, paper craft, polymer clay creations.
What do you do to keep yourself busy at this time of year? Our current reality may be causing many of us to rethink how we spend this time.
The wheel turns. Tomorrow is another day. We are the creators, the authors of our lives. Let us look forward with hope that better days are ahead.
May you and yours be well, in all ways. Be patient. Be kind.