Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lanterns made of pumpkins

Sigh.... what a great time of year! Just this past week or so the temperatures have dropped a bit. The trees took this as a cue to get undressed and now their leafy clothes litter the streets. It finally feels and looks like fall, just in time for the most deliciously pagan celebration of the year. My neighbourhood is full of good sports who have decked the halls (or porches rather) with fat pumpkins, floating ghosts and giant furry spiders. Much to my chagrin, we never seem to get any trick-or-treaters at our door (we live in a small apartment building, just five units, but still there are a few kids here! I think their parents take them to more lucrative candy-hunting grounds) so we end up up eating the small candy bowl we get "just in case" and watching halloweeny movies instead. Nightmare before Christmas is a favorite of mine. A happy all hallows eve to all, and to all a spooky night!

*Photos: "All Hallows Barn Dance" - Joseph Holodook
; little jack o' lantern photo by Lawrence Larry from Getty; Halloween Greetings from Black Dog's vintage Halloween postcards.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Golden Delicious

Mount Royal Park, Montreal
Photo by Yves Marcoux; taken from Getty Images

This is what it looks like outside the office window from work today (well, only sort of – I don’t work in the park unfortunately, but there is a church across the street from me, with nice tree-lined grounds so it is still very picturesque). The tree I can see most clearly is amber from tip to tip. Every now and then the wind ruffles it and a handful of leaves detach themselves and dance away.
I am also thinking about the Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens and making a mental note not to miss it. So far I have always managed to forget about it until it is past, but I adore lanterns and being in a garden full of them is just so much magic. This year I really want to go. Lanterns really seem to capture a feeling of other-worldly-ness, or past-worldly-ness. Also, they make me think of Illuminaries, at home in Vancouver (which is a wildly fun pagan romp in a faerie-light filled park on trout lake) and how every summer I wish I was there making my own little light-carrier to add to the parade. The Montreal festival looks a little tamer (I don't think there are stilt-walkers and fire-eaters and live bands, although I could be wrong) but I am sure it will still be lovely to look at.

The magic of lanterns

Photo from 2003 Montreal Lantern Festival taken from this person's site (thank you!)

The bottom two photos are from Illuminaries, taken from this site (thank you!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I am my body

This is my new mantra. I realize that for some people (and probably for me sometimes) the opposite mantra would be more appropriate. After all, we are constantly being bombarded with screaming messages and cruel whisperings about our physical selves, insisting we twist to look twice, thrice in the mirror before leaving the house. Telling us how short we fall from the ideal. However, I spend so much time out of my body that I really need to remind myself that this is in fact my home, my temple, me. This is such a strange life. Beautiful and terrible and mysterious. I am a creature of blood and bone and thought. I forget all the time that I have a body. That I am a body. I spend a lot of time judging my dear little body, as if it is something I can assess in the fitting room mirror and then put back on the rack. How weird it is to think like that, how disconnected I am from my hips and fingers and toes! Every single bit of me is connected. It is all ME. My thoughts don't just happen in empty space. They are swimming in hormones and electricity and synaptic dances! They live in my knees, my eyes, my underarms. They travel all through this universe of ME and dwell in my secret cells.
I was reading Kris Carr's blog tonight and she said: Your body IS a temple and your mouth is the ALTAR. That turned my mind upside down for a minute. Every morsel I eat is an offering to the gods who are ME. What a thought!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Swirling into autumn

I have a few started entries... I also have a lot of thoughts spiraling around in a fuzzy halo, but they never seem to make it to the page. This past week and a half has been laughably BAD. So bad. I can almost laugh about it today, but oh it was bad. It included a large (and seemingly impossible) tax debt from 1998 that I did NOT know about until last Wednesday, a few midterms, an over-flowing washing machine (and therefore a flooded kitchen, which was unfortunately where our camping equipment was sitting ... soggy), a big fight with Adrien and ... stepping on a tack. There are a few other things making my heart ache too... things that don't easily spill out in words.
I really just want to be luxuriating in my favourite season; I want to crunch through brittle leaves and wear all my scarves and eat pumpkin pie everyday. I want to curl around a cup of tea and read Jeanette Winterson's new book: Stone Gods (even though it isn't out in Canada yet) or Joanne Harris's sort of sequel to Chocolat, The Lollipop Shoes or my book-club book Plan B by Anne Lamott, or any of several dozen other books I have laying in wait on my teetering shelves like Kafka On The Shore or Hidden Connections or Our Lady of the Lost and Found. My books, they are calling to me. Or I want to take a walk in the grey twilight, listening to Red Mars on audio-book by Kim Stanley Robinson,winking at jack-o-lanterns. Or splashing on a canvas with a paintbox full of red, brown, amber and gold to celebrate the season, or else a paintbox oozing with summery greens, blues purples to remember the seasons past. I want to do these things, but alas I am (STILL/always?/forever...) a student. So I have midterms and papers to avoid. And I am absolutely addicted to selfPITY. I am. I so am. It is hard to truly indulge in one's loves in life when one is busy with the moping and the sniveling and the sobbing. I wish I could let go of that part of me that seems to so glory in the mean reds. I wish I could discard the drama queen. It is exhausting.
Instead of doing the things I want to do, and instead of doing the things I should be doing, I wind up escaping into the oh-so-reassuring land of tele-vision. I don't even OWN a tv and yet, and yet there is the internet. I download my crack. It isn't (all) bad tv, so at least there's that. But still. What a waste of time. I know why I do it, I know that it is a relief to set down my own worries and woes for 30mins while I watch Nancy struggle with much more entertaining and scary troubles on Weeds. I know that I want to live in Eureka and muse on sticky scientific conundrums rather than my own bureaucratic balls of red tape. Oh Bones! Anthropology has never been sexier! Of course it makes sense to want to zone out, forget, let go, stop the swirling darts of angry thoughts. It is shelter from the storm of LIFE. Sometimes life is looking at wildflowers with a magnifying glass, or getting your hair brushed by your boyfriend or swimming in an icy lake or breathing in your cat's purring voice or eating sushi. But sometimes life is a suck-fest. And sometimes it is too much for me to cope with all at once. So I have to shelve everything and then dole it out slowly, one crappy thing at a time. I think what happens sometimes is that, since the world OUT THERE doesn't respect this need of mine, since it continues to send the good the bad and the ugly, regardless of where I am in my nasty inventory, I sometimes get such a backlog of SUCK that I need to close up completely. My inner shelves get full. There is no more room here for that sucky thing, so you will have to wait my friend. I may be ready to think about your little problem next week. But not this week. Not the week with the tax thing and the flooding and the tack in my foot. Nope. Right now I need to balance all this stuff with something lovely. Something simple. Something seasonal.
So I will hang with my pals Tegan & Sarah, Feist, The Be Good Tanyas, The Shins, Badly Drawn Boy and whoever else is hiding in itunes and I will light some incense to mask the scent of SUCK in the air and I will drink spiced tea and I will study and I will get through the midterms. And then I will go to the farmer's market on the weekend and I will make pie.