For me, it is also the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new. I've always had a deep connection to this day, even before I knew the various spiritual, religious, what-have you sorts of meanings to it. I love the way the seasons change, overnight, from the riotously golden days of a New England autumn when the trees seem to burn with fire to the bare-branched days of November. Things always seem more alive, more real, more Here at this time of year than any other. Winter is coming, bringing death to the unprepared, and all of Nature knows it. Beneath the last of the warm breezes, you can almost hear the razor-edged winds of Winter scraping, warning you to keep your loved ones close, to check your food stores, and your fires. Winter in New England is not kind or loving or gentle, no matter how beautiful it may be. It is also the time when we begin to gather together to tell stories, and remind ourselves of all we hold dear. I love this time with every fiber of my being.
I also realize that I'm a little odd for loving something that signifies death, but it is through the awareness of mortality that we truly know what it means to live. (I am also a raging Scorpio, so, well...yeah. As a fellow Scorpio friend of mine once remarked about our sign "Sex and Death, baby, all the way..." Life and Death are intricately intertwined, and Scorpios tend to be drawn to this dichotomy like moths to flames.)
In keeping with the season, I've spent some time giving thought to what I've lost over the year, and what I need to let go of. What do I need to shed, like a snake sheds it's skin? In doing so, I was reminded of a poem I wrote a little over a year or so ago, when I was in a very, very bad place, and realized that it is time to let that die, so that, like the phoenix who is also an important symbol to me, I can be reborn. And it brought another poem to mind. I'll share both. The first is the old one, the second is the new.
You ask me how I'm doing, and I smile
And tell you the pretty lie you want to hear
"I'm fine", I say, and you smile
You don't see the drops of blood dripping from my soul
A trail of shining rubies and rose petals behind me
You see the ghostshadow of my wings
And believe the illusion
But my wings are broken, torn off
A slow-seeping wound that will not heal
Desperate to convince myself it’s true
I almost believe the lie myself sometimes
That I’m not this damaged shell
That someday summer will return to me again
That I’ll fly the skies once more on the warm winds that I loved
I feel them in my dreams at night still
And awake to tears again
A broken-winged bird, lost and scared
Terrified that this is all I’ve left
Broken and bleeding, long the nights I lay
Torn open, damaged, dying of unhealed wounds
“I’m fine”, I said, and they smiled
As ruby blood seeped down my back and from my soul
The fires of a lifetime stolen, the burning pyre
A blazing beacon screamed to Heaven
All that I was turned lies.
The world unseeing, uncaring
A broken-winged bird, dying of shame.
The Wheel of Seasons spins around, around
Fires becomes ashes, ashes become dust
Funerary pyres die
Far off in the distance the winds begin rising
A red-robed baen-sidhe cry - howling, wailing, screaming, chaoining
A firey raven, madly laughing
Riding the winds, rejoicing
Corvus Rising from her pyre
Life reclaimed, a blazing soul reborn
Now, I'm going to help hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.