Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dia de los Muertos

The last day of October 2010. After church and grocery shopping, I spent the remaining daylight hours with the dead:  dead dahlias, dead tomatoes, dead morning glories. And dead leaves – hundreds of thousands of dead leaves. All gathered and mushed into the giant plastic yard waste container and dutifully rolled out to curbside.

[My neighbor helped. She’s really good at standing in yard waste containers to compress the gathered debris.]

The huge maple in the front yard still has most of its leaves so there will be more dead to come, to fall, to be raked and gathered and compressed.

Later, as darkness fell, there were hundreds of doorbell rings heralding strange creatures of varying heights and finesse. Some forgot to say “trick or treat” but I could figure out what they wanted. Most of them – however terrifying their masks – remembered to say “thank you.”

When the wooden bowl that had been brimming with individually wrapped confections held only one more, I locked the front door and turned off the porch light.

It was enough.

Everything seemed so apt. The celebration of personal ancestors at church, gathering food for the week ahead, clearing the dead plants and leaves from my garden, and feeding the fantasies – and dental bills – of the next generation.

Okay. I’m ready for November.

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