I was born in September. I don’t know if that has any bearing on my love for autumn, but I like to believe it does. In my Upstate New York childhood, autumn meant new school clothes and supplies (I still love new notebooks and pens and markers and folders and, and, and…), the smell of dry leaves and cider, and the excitement of Halloween. The highlight of October was the annual trip to Kelly’s Farm to pick out our pumpkins and get fresh brewed cider and old fashioned donuts.
While the innocence of that time has gone, and the world is a different place today than it was then, there is a certain wonder to the autumn months still. I sometimes miss the New York autumns, especially here in California where we basically get two seasons, Summer and Not-Summer. Sure we have leaves on the ground and the mornings and nights are cooler, and sometimes even cold, but the true fall colors don’t happen here, unless you travel up into the mountains.
We’re into the time of year here that means long pants and long sleeves in the morning, tank tops and shorts by noon and the air conditioner in the late afternoon. I go to bed with the fan blowing and not even the sheet pulled over me and wake up under blankets chilled.
Last night I refreshed my altar for my ancestors as sort of an invitation. The veil between worlds is thinning as we approach Samhain and I welcome them to visit.
Samhain, and Halloween for that matter, will be different this year, I imagine. For me it is usually a quiet holiday, being the my front door doesn’t face the street, but just the sheer number of newly dead this year…loved ones to be remembered and honored…changes the tenor of the day. This was true for me the Samhain after 9/11, and this is so much more, so many more dead, and many of them left this world bereft of human touch, without the ones they loved by their side.
On that somber note, I wish each of you a lovely week and the kindness and compassion that changes lives. I’m off for more coffee and to log into work. May this autumn be one of a better harvest.
Cover Photo by Dennis Buchner on Unsplash