I used to like Halloween as a child, with its Baby Ruth candies, its neighborhood spookiness and it being my mother's birthday too, but I haven't liked the holiday for years. I'm not a big fan that in America many adults use the holiday as an opportunity to express their sexual darkness, or their romanticism of Death, or their drunken angry inner selves. That being said, I do like the reverence of the Christian All Souls' Day, All Saints' Day and the resurgence of The Day Of The Dead celebrations, with personal altars displaying photographs of loved ones gone, and orange marigolds on graves newly cleaned.
I'll be walking in the All Souls' Procession in Tucson this Sunday, but I'm planning a more personal observance this weekend, of this time of the year when the veil between worlds is thin. Next year, I hope to be near Lively, Virginia, sitting on a bench in my family plot on November 1st, small candles burning near the headstones of my mother, father and sister.
Above is a photograph I took of Wistman's Wood last Spring when I was visiting friends in Chagford, Dartmoor. One of the oldest remaining oak wood in all of the UK, beautifully dwarfed by time and wind, Wistman's Wood truly is a sacred place, being its own gateway between earth and sky.
I wish I was there right this second, holding a photo of my family in one hand and a bunch of marigolds in the other. Or if not there, sitting on a marble bench in the Northern Neck of Virginia.