…Yesterday I smelled winter on its away. I waited for a bus in the late-afternoon sun filtered by partially leafed, tree limbs. A fat brown squirrel cracked a nut nearby as the after-work traffic passed by. My silver tennis shoes rocked back-and-forth as I inhaled the cooling air and its promise of approaching snow. I smiled at the seasons, each so familiar that they are lodged in my marrow, imprinted on my soul. So familiar that confusion takes hold without white-outs during the dark time of year. You may take the girl out of the North, but not the North out of the girl…
Such are my reflections on this chilly morning, one of the last in October 2011, as we near Samhain and Día de los Muertos — distinct but kindred occasions that respect this time of year as crossing a threshold, an in-between time. Samhain is rooted in pagan Europe from Gaelic and Celtic traditions celebrating the harvest’s end and darker days, while the Day of the Dead hails from Mexico’s indigenous roots to honor departed loved ones.
I have in mind this spirit of crossing the threshold with coming events, including today’s poetry readings. My first reading is at 1:00pm at Fenner Nature Center (Lansing) with a focus on nature and community, in particular the impact of human use of the land. Snacks are served before the reading, and a suggested donation of $5 benefits Fenner.
This evening I give a free poetry reading at 6:00pm at Triple Goddess Bookstore (Okemos) in honor of ancestors and as part of the store’s weekend-long Halloween Party. Also I will share poetry as part of the ceremony at 7:00pm that follows the reading.
And Tuesday, November 1, is the first of my four workshops titled “Writing in the Dark” given at Coyote Wisdom Bookstore (Lansing). On this night, we are writing about ancestral roots and our bones — things on which our physical and creative flesh hangs. Our inspiration will be sparked by ancestors, those indigenous, enslaved, as well as immigrated to North America; St. Teresa of Avila, whose coveted bones became scattered holy relics; and La Loba, the wild woman who gathers and sings over wolf bones. Registration online or at the store is encouraged; walk-ins are welcome if space allows.
Wherever you may be today or in coming days, as the dark continues to lengthen here in the North, I wish you a bright spirit to keep your hope and imagination warm!