Another stunning autumnal day here in the southwest, one or two butterflies persist in their search for sustenance, tired and battered wings seem to carry them still against the chill of the oncoming storms of the season. A steady fall of leaves cover the damp ground, a carpet of warmth and nutrition to ensure the return of nature, soon to be overturned by the hens of our household who's mission it seems is to turn the garden into a swamp, a fitting place for this old Ogre some will doubtless think.
As the nights draw in and the morning rises late, the muse returns to the house of The Cunning Man, the canvas stands proud upon its easel awaiting the shapes and texture of this one's reflections, adoration and love, the layers build while the fire of the hearth welcomes her into my home and it is there where she reflects the heat and passion of the midsummer, dark inspiration to bring light to the darker times to come, I hope to do justice to all that she gives, patience, careful thought and planning are required once more, unnecessary distractions must be put to rest finally.
The pages of the calendar continue to turn, four weeks or there abouts to the biggest celebration in our yearly schedule, I am reminded by a visit to our local city, whereupon my visual senses are assaulted by a cacophony of plastic skulls, plastic pumpkins, hooked noses and Frankenstein's monster masks, the trappings of All Hallows Eve, all the fun and games for children and adults alike.
Am I offended by this crass commercialism?
The answer is... Apart from the fact that most of this stuff will end up in landfill, and the personal creativity of our own youth seems to be going the same way, not really. Yes, It has fallen victim to the real monsters that lurk in the dark, the retailers and supermarkets that creep around our over consuming society. It does not reflect what we do in our own celebrations however, it is still celebrated, there is a gene in all of us the globe over that recognises this time, even the church acknowledges it(though I suspect they rather wouldn't), one even has to give credit to the church for doing so, as their celebration there is closer to what we do, a thinning of the veil, for us it may be reverence, acknowledgement, contact and affirmation of the wisdom and love of our ancestors, a link to the divine through them, for the Reverend it is a similar celebration only here it is reverence for those within that community that have shown wisdom or performed divine acts, The Holy Saints, the bridge between man and his god.
A million miles from Transylvania's blood suckers and bolts through the neck, let them all have their fun, and why not?
The bobbing apple is after all a close relative of the rose.
A great night to tell the children stories as well, possibly the best night in the year, wired into the event young minds find the will to listen to chthonic tales from the underworld, even absorbing the finer details on occasion.
I have to sadly add here, that we live far enough from regular civilisation that we do not have to endure the fouler aspects of this wonderful time, we used to take our children to the nearest village to do the trick or treat thing, a "jack o lantern" in the window of the home would declare if a welcome treat could be found, but a mile down a dark muddy lane to the house where the witches live will tend to stop the little darklings coming here.
Communication with the wider community brings further lessons, my base animal instincts which I have relied on solely for too long need to be kept on a leash, reaction to offence can cause further offence perhaps even to those to whom you might never consider" if in doubt best not lash out" a pitfall might await the careless traveller indeed.
The greater realisation, at least on this occasion, is that those who we truly count as friends, those whose support and nurture we value, are not afraid to let you know when you are treading close to the line, those who's wiser council is to move on and let the sleeping dogs lie, rather than teasing them with tempting morsels and tit bits just to see if they will bite, they do bite, it is not as bad as the bark, but ultimately if we are quiet they will just fall back off to sleep.
A solitary existence has meant that within my close circle I have been sat atop a proverbial tree, not akin to a wise monkey and on the occasion throwing stuff at those who I see below.
I see before me a much greater tree and there are those within its many branches that may may be willing to help me to climb it, but only if I can continue my journey with wisdom and integrity, it is a great thing to know these people are there.
So as a word of warning, when strolling around the esoteric forest, Do not always head for the first tree off the path, avoid the easy climb, as the one that may be harder to climb may well have the best fruit, most importantly steer clear of the windblown especially if there is a bunch of rather noisy simians on its branches, there is no fresh fruit there, doubtless there ever was.
So it is heads up, treading quietly, avoiding the sticky mud and ignoring the distracting noises from the easily climbable trees, doubtless having to dodge the odd projectile on occasion.
Flags, Flax and Fodder. Tony..