A Long Sigh of Relief

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All Saints’ Day—a gathering of the Saints in Heaven that follows the holy night—from which comes our word Halloween. Though I’ve never liked Halloween—not even as a kid—this next day has always caused me a long sigh of relief.

Last evening, waiting for the trick-or-treaters who didn’t come, listening and delighting in the rain, Michael said, “We need the rain; I love the rain, but I hate to see summer go.” My, perhaps, too-quick reply was: “I’m ready to be done with summer till next year.” I’m ready for the turning in, time before the fire, for life’s focus, at least in a spiritual sense, to draw down, into the darkness, for the work of the darkness and the quiet. Enough of the outward gaiety, the reign of the external life.

One night last winter when Michael and I were in New York City we went up to Columbia. I wanted him to see the gates to the university that my iron-worker grandfather had helped to build. In the photos you can see how deep even the city darkness was. I stood beside those gates, held onto their sturdiness, proud of the dark strength my grandfather helped make; proud to be descended from that hardworking immigrant. On All Saints Day I’m remembering him and welcoming the return of darkness, this deep tunneling time of year.

And you? Ready for the chillier weather, hopefully buckets of rain? You might write, dance, or paint your way into the coming dark and discover what’s ready to receive you there.