October 31, 2007
Sing to the light, and welcome the darkness
Well here it is, the end of October, and I'm brimming with Irish pride.
Last night MR, my oldest daughter, performed at Orchestra Hall with The Cross-Border Orchestra of Ireland. She and her classmates were selected to be part of a 400 student choir that accompanied the Orchestra — made up of Irish students across both sides of the religious and political divide. It was a superb evening, and I beamed with pride, knowing that this was a chance of a lifetime for these students — one that could shape them for years to come. I know that MR carefully studied the flutes, herself in her third year of band. Even the gossiping of The Queen Bees about my arrival with my girlfriend to a school function couldn't put a damper on the night. The sweet sounds of the Uilleann pipes, the fife, and a massive drum unlike anything I've ever seen, put me in the mood to dance a little jig, if only in spirit.
The night served as the perfect lead-in to Halloween — the ultimate in Christo-pagan celebrations. All Hallow's, Sukkot, All Saints, All Souls, Diá de los Muertos, Samháin — whatever you want to call it — across cultures, we humans choose to mark the turning of the year — from light to darkness — with celebrations that honor the harvest and our ancestors who have passed before us. This is the time to collect together all that is fruitful and dispose of what is rotting. As the autumn leaves swirl and death arrives, we notice the chill in the air along with our growing desire to hunker down spiritually and cast off what doesn't serve us. Many of us will turn inward, reflect and meditate more. Examine the darkness within, knowing that doing so prepares you for the promised growth of Spring. And, this should go without saying, but dress up, go trick-or-treating with your favorite ghouls, witches, and tigers, and get a good-sugar high to keep you buzzed through the rest of the week!