Thursday, November 1, 2007

This time of year

This is the year that my oldest daughter deemed herself too old to trick-or-treat.
A bittersweet time. Being in between. Not one of the little kids but not on her own either.
We trick or treated with our dog, Jupiter, our younger daughter and a couple of her friends and a couple of ours.
Our dog's birthday is Halloween, he is now 8.
Almost every day I think of the inevitability that we will lose him.
Dogs don't live long. Having pets is an act of faith that most people don't go into with clear heads. I did. The ages of our children, the lifespan of a black lab, all planned out. But what you can't plan out is how much you can love your dog and how much you want to protect your kids (and yourself) from the loss, more loss, of losing your beloved. We've had frogs, fish, rabbits, birds and now chickens and a dog. We have buried so many beings in our sweet yard, so many crying processions in the rain, before school or whenever death occurred. The funerals always end with a planting. If only we had made markers. Which roses can we transplant? Or remove? Is this the tree with Sugar under it? It makes me feel like I have done a poor job in the burial department even though we buried our animals with precious baby blankets, silk scarves and all kinds of sweetness, I have no clear memory of who is where. Does it matter?
This time of year is about ancestors and where we come from and having the courage to make it through the winter. It's about death and decay and compost and rot and knowing that if we do indeed survive the winter we will be nourished by all the decay of the winter to enable us to thrive when the sap begins rising in the trees and the blood begins to rise within us in the glorious impossibly far away springtime.
But for now we take our dog trick or treating and know that he is part of our family and I yearn to have my older daughter with me. As we walk I make plans for next year so that we can all be together to celebrate the darkening of the year by lighting fires, drinking hot sweet cider, going out into the dark and begging for candy to say that we have courage in the darkness and we want sweetness and joy, but we also yearn for the scary and mysterious to be shown, because we all know it exists and for one night at least we are comforted by the belief that others can see the deep dark in themselves and others and it's alright.

(The picture is of me & my girls and Miss C. their preschool teacher 2005)

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