Monday, October 31, 2011

The Veil Draws Thin... and Where Have I Been?

They say the veil between the worlds draws thin at this time of year. "They" being mostly a mix of all manner of Pagans and Christians who believe in the reality of the spirit world. Ghosts, haints, unsettled spirits, they try to reach us this time of year.
You know me, skeptic extraordinaire, fascinated nonetheless by any and all things spiritual and mysterious... and I think there must be a reason, so old it has been forgotten, behind the connection of ghosts and spirits with Halloween. All Hallow's Eve, All Saints' Day, all these things must surely have been recognized at this time of year for a reason. I imagine there are plenty of theories about this, so I'll just tell you about my quick Halloween afternoon ramble on the backroads.

It's a beautiful autumn day, sunny and crisp. I don't have a lot of time between work and time for the kids to be home from school, but there's some time. Today, I felt drawn to an old cemetery I'd seen on one of the backroads in our area. When I first drove by this old graveyard, it was a little scruffy looking. It has no gates, no drive, no signs (nor any "no trespassing" signs). It probably wasn't meant to be right off the side of a county road, but how could people in the mid to late 1800's predict where horseless carriage paths would emerge? The reason I point out the lack of a "no trespassing" sign is that I'm trying to justify intruding upon it without asking anyone whether it is public or private. It now appears that someone, whether an owner of the land or an employee of the county, has begun tending and cleaning it. I've wanted to stop and walk up into it many times. Every time I've driven slowly alongside it but not stopped.

Today, I picked the last of the marigolds growing in my hapless garden of weeds and tied them with a tiny slip of leather. I grabbed a pretty gourd from the basket my mom sent home with me, and I grabbed my keys... and took off straight toward that graveyard with the feeling that today was the day to step into it.

I've been thinking a bit about Halloween celebrations, trick-or-treating, fanciful witches and monsters and bats, and the secularization of Christmas. Wait, did I mean to type "Christmas"? Yes, I did, because I wonder why it is that no one laments the trivialization of Halloween the way we do the commercialization of Christmas. I will tell you that I am not a Christian, that I celebrate Christmas anyway because I love the family togetherness and traditions, and that (strange as it seems coming from me) I prefer Christmas hymns to Rudolph and Frosty. I'm starting to have the same type of feelings about Halloween. I don't think it's merely a candy-buying, fake-witch-t-shirt-wearing, monster-mashing kind of holiday. It's okay by me to have trick-0r-treating and fun and parties, but I feel the growing need to recognize more than the commercial part of the event, ya know? I'm not sure yet what that means, except that I'm thinking more today about the veil and whether or not this is the only time of year it can be lifted. I'm thinking about showing thanks and reverence to those who came before us, and not only at Thanksgiving or Memorial Day. I'm thinking about the goodness and kindness in the soul of the person who started what looks to be a reclamation of the place. I'm thinking about the four gravestones I saw lined up next to each other, each bearing the same name at the bottom of the writing (maybe a parent?). I didn't read the last one, but the first three were children. One was a baby, one a toddler, and one an eleven year old who died ten years after the baby and toddler. What was childhood like for that eleven year old? Did he or she expect to die young? Did he or she feel the presence of those siblings when this time of year came? Was anyone left in the family to pass along these stories? I wish I knew.

I left the marigolds and gourd with them.


rosebud101 said...

I wasn't asked to sign in so I assume my last comment didn't make it. What a lovely gesture, Ang!

Sharon Driscoll said...

I think you make some really good points here Ang. I think both events are highly commercialized and I thinkk maybe it's one of the reasons I am so drawn to the Day of the Dead celebrations. It just appeals to me that it is a celebration of relatives who have passed. Thinking and talking about relatives who are gone seems like such a great way to keep them alive in our hearts.

Sharon Driscoll said...

Uh, how many times can I write "think" in a sentance? Looks like a whole lot! LOL

angelinabeadalina said...

Mallory, I only saw one email notice and comment... and thanks. I'm really pleased to see that someone is taking care of the place.
Sharon, I think think is a great word for thinking about things, lol... and I think you're on the right track by liking Day of the Dead celebrations. It does seem more appropriate (if that's the right word) in some ways.