Re-post from my Super Duper Social Worker Blog, October 2012
October is a special month. We re-adjust to our new work and school
schedules. Though the weather might still be uncomfortably warm (like
right now in North Carolina!) it starts to vary up between hot, cold,
muggy, crisp, perfect, bright, lovely, wonderful. Everything becomes
pumpkin flavored and colored. (Steve and I had the most amazing pumpkin
custard at Goodberry's this week. Pumpkin, waffle cone, whipped cream,
pecans and caramel. Oh yum.)
There are parties and decorations and
costumes and concerts and community events. Maybe, just maybe, people
have more fun in October than any other month of the year.
this draw to fun, parties, and community comes from a primal need for
us to all come together this time of year. Mother Nature is giving one
last push of her bounty before the winter season finally settles over
the land. And then that's it. And that's pretty scary, and maybe we need one another to cope, to remind ourselves "no, we're not dead yet! look, we live!"
October in all of its beauty is a
season of inevitable change. It reminds us that in order for something
to be so amazingly fun and awesome, it can't last forever. All things
are created and all things are destroyed. October in all of its bright
colors and festivities dances on the edge of life and death.
Some Catholics celebrate All Souls Day and All Saints Day as a way to honor the blessed dead. For
the ancient Celtic and other European tribes, this time of year was the
time to bring in the last of the harvest and to prepare for a long,
cold winder. Herds were culled down and farmers were forced to decide
which animals would live through the winter and which ones would not.
This practice gives us one folk name of October's full moon - the Blood
So, for all of our celebration, for all of our fun and
candy, October is a time for us to come together as a community, to
cling to one another as if it's a matter of life or death because maybe it really is.
October is fun. But sometimes the winter is not. And yes, we're alive
now. But nature is dying, and we are, too.
October is a time to
embrace our lives. It is a time of community and harvest, and of death
and shadows. We are confronted with the glory of life and death every
hour and every minute of October. The pumpkins shine like giant golden
moons. The leaves in many places are still green, but in others they are
red, yellow, brown.
In our modern world it's hard to imagine
having to slaughter animals and make choices of life and death for the
winter. We can just go to the grocery store and buy fruits and
vegetables and bacon and just forget all about it. But for a few
moments, imagine your ancestors. Imagine how they felt about the change
in the season, from summer to autumn, and then to the dark, cold winter.
Think about the fear of the unknown they must have felt, the certainty of death within their lives
teaches us to not be afraid when confronted with our own
mortality. Yes, we're alive. Yes, we'll die. Life and death are both
gifts. And in October, celebrate. Eat, drink and be merry because the
seasons are changing, because tomorrow we, or someone we love, might
die. Follow your primal urges in October to make the most of this month
and this season.
Watch scary movies. Listen to gothic
music. Wear black. Decorate your house in skeletons and skulls. Tell
stories of your blessed dead. Toast to the ancestors. Go to parties.
Stay up late. Don't get enough sleep. Drink too much. Eat apples and
bacon. Look at a pomegranate. Carve a pumpkin. Snack on the seeds. Wear a
costume. Spook yourself out. Take a walk. Smell some dirt.
Do not hide from the shadow or death. Confront it.
Laugh at it. Laugh with it.
Because, like all of nature, we will die. We will be taken in. But next season, we will be reborn.