31 October 2008
On Hallowe'en, and...
You'd think I might have more time to blog when work is so excruciatingly slow that I actually become exhausted from the lack of things to do. A bit crazy, that. I'm overjoyed that I'm still getting a paycheck, at least...that's better than what a lot of people have going on. I'm pretty damn lucky as far as that goes.
So, tonight's Hallowe'en. I use that name when specifically referring to the disgusting greedy holiday that America--and the world--has fallen in love with. I never got into trick-or-treating as a kid...I think I did it twice, once when I was 10 and another time when I was 12 or so. While I can definitely see the potential cute-factor of infants in a costume (I think of Ayla's son, being a squash this year), I don't understand parents dragging them all over for hours, house to house, to get enough candy to strike a diabetic coma into a 300-lb man when everyone knows the kid isn't even old enough to eat it. By the time the kids are old enough to eat candy, and therefore trick-or-treat, they really prolly shouldn't have it...or at least, they shouldn't have as much as they're given. (An entire pillowcase full? Really?) Then they hit about 12 and seriously, at that point it's just about sugar binges and dressing up. I reiterate: I don't think the dressing up is all that bad. I just don't like the greed I see, so I've avoided the entire holiday for most of my life. Commercialisation kills it.
Now, in the religious sense of the time of year, I see purpose: Samhain, Allerseelen, Día de los Muertos, Obon...those names connote a sacred time of year to honour departed loved ones, and I truly enjoy that aspect of it. I think if I had kids, I might somehow incorporate the costumes, perhaps; I'd probably even bake some kind of Pan de Muerto (Dead Bread) or other treat with at least some nutritional value. But taking a day, or a few days, to reflect on the cycle of life and death is very important. Many of us live just from moment to moment without any thought toward what life really means or what it's supposed to be. I like the idea of slowing down, meditating, and lighting a candle for those I've lost. I like the idea of remembering my loved ones who have passed on with flowers, even foods or other tangible offerings. It keeps death close, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. We face it daily. It also gives me a time to set aside to dedicate my thoughts to those who passed on before me.
Tonight and this weekend I'll keep, firstly, the little children in my thoughts: my own son Gabriel, plus Raven and Elektra-Marie, daughters of friends of mine. Then I'll remember adults who made impacts in my life: Uncle Bill, from Wales; Pat, who took her own life on Independence Day weekend; my husband's grandmother from Ohio. And of course, my ancestors who came and went before I knew them, or who were lost in years past. My intent is to meditate on the delicate and fragile thread of life, that can be severed at any time, which reminds me to live my life as fully and with as much purpose as I'm able; I must remember that this is my life and while my action and inaction both affect others, at the end of the day it's still mine to live.
(And by the way, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, you can think honouring the dead for Hallowe'en is stupid cos it's all about the costume parties and haunted houses and sugar highs better than any street drug can give you, that's fine by me. You can also think I need a history lesson in what the "real Hallowe'en" is all about, that's great too. But no bitching about it, please.)