Today I am wearing sparkly gold shoes. My “cinderella slippers.” This time of year, above any other for me, brings that secret, hidden, frightful kind of magic to the forefront. A feeling of dark brooding with erratic sparks of light.
I was chatting with a friend the other day who said she doesn’t like halloween.
I love All Hallows Eve.
Why is that? I wondered. Why do I love skeletons decorated with marigolds, and tattered lace, and will-o-wisps, and cobwebs strung with dripping candles? I don’t love being frightened, and I’ve never been a fan of ghosts or demons of any sort…but beyond the candy and costumes there’s something truly fun and almost beautiful about celebrating the jittery, spooky, creepy things.
I think it’s the same for every story: villainy and darkness is necessary to accentuate the light. My glass slippers go perfectly with my pumpkins. The fairy godmother will turn one into a carriage and I’ll be whisked away to the ball and out of my dark cindered corner.
You know, I’ve been thinking about fairytale, and how necessary they must have been, and still are, in a day where villainy was so rampant. (Wolves in the forest turned Grandmother silly for Red Riding Hood).
But isn’t it the same today, too? When we’re on the bridge in Ravenna Park and I know there are transient people who hang out under there it’s so easy to laughingly say, “Watch out for the troll under the bridge!” and my boys go scampering giddily to the other side.
Oliver has become a bit of an escape artist lately. We had a big scare recently. How can I explain to my little three year old that someone could take him if he wanders off? That someone could hurt him…kill him? I told him, “remember what happened to Edmund when he left the Beavers’ dam? The White Witch got him. We have to stick together so we don’t get lost or taken!” That was the thing that really got hold of him. He nodded his head and said, “Okay Mama. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”
Cinderella is just a charming story, but every once in a while you hear about a woman or child locked in a basement. The horror, I can’t even imagine. Was the original myth written by such a person? Someone wishing and hoping for better? A prince, a fairy, friends in mice, sparkly shoes? The thought is so macabre. And oddly hopeful.
That is a little piece of Halloween for me: a celebration of dark because it’s the dark that makes the need for light. The dark let’s us realize the light is there, and making light of it helps us process the reality surrounding us.On these foggy, rainy, mucky days where every flower is dying and the sun is sinking low in a cold, brown streaked sky…. A pink moon rises in the east, an earthy fire crackles in the hearth, and candles are lit in the last of harvest’s plump orange gourds.
And in those lights a whisper of: evergreen and white and twinkle lights are coming! The chorus of carolers is not far behind! That glorious day of solstice will soon arrive!
The light will not hide in pumpkins for very long.
But while it is, let’s have a little fun.**Images: Edmund Dulac, Oliver and the cinderella pumpkins at Ravenna Gardens, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, an evening walk in Ravenna, Finn with his jackolantern 2 years ago.