Recently I had read about a few different indigenous cultures that devoted weeks and even months to honoring their ancestors during the part of the year when the night is longer than the day as opposed to a single holiday. This idea intrigued me as well as soothed my frustrations when schedules and the weather simply did not add up to a satisfactory Samhain celebration for me this year. As far as the focusing on remembering and honoring one’s heritage portion of Samhain goes, I had already felt “in the Samhain spirit” by the end of September, and it has lingered long past the end of October. My thoughts, feelings, activities, and photography have reflected this in a variety of ways so far.
With the natural world in the Death portion of the Cycle of Life for the Northern Hemisphere, thoughts about Death have been prevalent for me also. I purchased the book “Japanese Death Poems Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death” along those thought lines, adding to my list of poetry books to read as part of my OBOD Bardic course experience. The sparse yet impactful design of haiku-style poetry has always attracted me.
The weather has hovered indecisively between deep Winter blizzard-like conditions and the thawing warmth of early spring despite only being in the month of November. Because of this the differences between the first picture from November 2nd and the following picture from November 21st are stark.
As part of today’s remembrances, I gave back the pumpkins from this season’s harvest and flowers from this past summer as a small offering as well as read aloud one of the haiku poems from the new book. Standing for a moment in quiet contemplation, an old memory of crayons and a coloring book on the floor my now-deceased grandparent’s home came to the surface. I was carefully coloring in the lines, and my grandmother, normally a very aloof person, came to stand over my shoulder and said something to the effect of “Look how neat you are, coloring in the lines all nice!”. It’s one of the few distinct memories I have of her. That memory reflected two things from my past that have recently been very important to me: my deliberate attention to detail in work and the creative pursuits. I’ll continue to ponder the significance of that memory for a while I’m sure.