All Souls and All Saints days.
The end of Daylight Savings Time.
It’s a full week of observances, whatever culture or tradition you claim. And we may also observe, daily, the seasonal change.
Our blessed earth has followed her timeless turnings and brought us back, again, to this point. Sunlight slants at gentler angles, departing earlier each day. The garden looks spent, having yielded what it could for another year.
So much has allowed us to be here, now. What comes to mind for me are the yields of this summer’s garden, and the souls who have come before us.
Most of us know well our own lineage – our parents, their parents, and, perhaps further, into our respective family trees. And, we may know some of what it required for them to bring us forth and set us off on our individual trajectories. The little luxuries that were spurned for our school shoes; the sleep lost to sooth our childhood night terrors; the worry lines gained while wondering why we hadn’t come home yet.
Among the blessings of that time, there may have been deficits – the support not given; the nurture withheld – or excesses, like the overcrowding of unmanageable emotions. As it can be in the garden, the soil of those days was perhaps dry and unsustaining; the weeds overwhelmed the seedlings; the vines, untended, groped for support, only to collapse to the ground or to grasp what was nearest, though not best.
Our harvest may yield both bounty and disappointment. Round ripe fruit and stunted shapes. We may feel whole, in part, but not in all. And, in response, we may return to traditions we abandoned, and find new nourishment there. Or, turn to communities and rituals that give more meaning and life. We come back to our families, or find families of choice. Slowly, we are made whole, and help bring others to wholeness as well.
I sat with my mother the other day. Her memory, both short and long, is gone, for the most part. But, she is very present in the conversation as long as it’s about “now”. We do what we can, which is great fun – provoke each other to laughter. We tease, and express love, in quick-witted fashion. In response to one of her gentle verbal thrusts, I parried, “Well, you’re the only mother I have, and the only mother I want.” We both agreed that was good.
Those words fell out of my mouth. They sound glib, but are nonetheless true. I am grateful for their grace; for the truth that they tell; for the healing that has preceded them.