These last few years that I've been a mom, I've been feeling, I mean really feeling the change of seasons. Take pumpkins. I didn’t really get them before this year. I’ve always liked the pie and had fun carving jack-o-lanterns, but this season I have learned to love their simple, unadulterated form. Under a sky of burnished silver, their bright orange globes glow.
The trees look brilliant this year. I feel like I've never seen the leaves so bright. Sweeping the yellow, purple, orange and red confetti off our lawn leaves me as heady as Mardi Gras.
Did giving birth tune me into the earth's cycles or something? Perhaps the double whammy of having my second baby and turning forty in the same month made some pagen-earth-momma part of me emerge from its crispy chrysalis of ironic distance. (I didn't nibble the placenta, I swear.)
We all know how our kids' sense of wonder and fun can renew holidays that we may have been looking at with an adult's jaded eye. I feel like I've woken up to the deeply humanist logic of the crowd of holidays that take place across cultures and over the world during autumn. The cooling air and briefer days call for reflection and atonement, for lighting lights and looking within, for remembering with joy, for gathering together to celebrate and express gratitude.
Halloween seems psychically necessary after the beautiful green monotony of endless summer suddenly transforms before our eyes, seeming to burst into flames, or crumpling to desiccated brown. The holiday reminds us to laugh at our fears, to pit fun against the death that surrounds us in nature and reminds us of our own mortality. "Rail, rail, against the dying of the light," chant the cartwheeling zombies and the tap-dancing skeletons.Continued on the next page