To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sixth Interlude

Hi, all, Daniel-of-2013 here.

It's sort of odd to be writing as though I were two different ages, two different people, almost. It's like my younger self is becoming an alter-ego of mine, as though we both exist in parallel, not in sequence. Of course, as I've said, this account I've been writing is not exactly what my younger self would have written at the time. Some aspects of his perspective I've forgotten, while others I've had to alter. I wasn't a very good chronicler when I was twenty.

One difference I am aware of also, and that I'm thinking of particularly as Samhain approaches, is that when I was twenty I was more or less entirely isolated, psychologically, in the present. I don't mean I had some zenlike awareness of each individual moment--in fact, I daydreamed much more than I do now, and I saw the world through a much thicker lens of personal bias and opinion. I mean that I was isolated from any sense of history or continuity. I was intellectually aware of the passage of time, of course, but emotionally I had no basic sense that the world could be fundamentally different than I saw it, that my ancestors had once been young men and women involved in their lives or that I was going to be somebody else's ancestor. I wouldn't have said so at the time, but I was basically a kid, a boy, with a boy's view of the world as static and basically organized around his own desires. I was never selfish in a malicious sense, but I was more self-centered than anyone who knew me, quiet, self-effacing, good-boy me, would have guessed. Except, of course, the masters, who saw through me and everybody else and managed to like us, most of us, anyway.

What changed? I had a child and I lost a friend. I don't think of the Veil as personally impermeable anymore.

So, for my traditional group of corrections--

I'm going to talk about what campus was like after Samhain after I talk about Samhain. That makes sense, of course, but in doing so I may give the impression that much of it was a surprise. It wasn't. I knew that the Dining Hall was going to shut down, that the therapy schedule was going to change, all of that. I was also much better prepared for Samhain itself than my story might indicate because in the weeks leading up to the holiday there had been a series of workshops on genealogy, finding family history, the creation of ancestor altars, the various versions of ancestor-veneration in different cultures, and so forth.  A group of people made posters honoring various people who had passed on, and though I chose not to make one, I did help get some of them ready to hang. So I was in the mood, I guess.

I should also resolve a small inconsistency. I've mentioned that Sarah was harvesting huge numbers of small pumpkins, but as I'll explain, there were few jack-o-lanterns on campus. Those pumpkins actually went into our feast on Samhain Day, which is the 1st. We had our main ceremony on Samhain Eve, which is on 31st, the day before. I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to talk about that feast specifically or not. I want to keep the focus on the ceremony.

Finally, what Kit said a few posts ago, about witches using broom-handles to apply flying ointment--I don't know if that's actually true. I know she actually said it, and I've encountered references to flying ointments in other writings, but I have not investigated the historical veracity of those sources, nor do I know whether Kit read about that use for broom sticks somewhere or simply decided that idea made sense. I suppose I could ask her, but the truth of the matter is I don't really care. I have other things I'd much rather talk about when we get together, and as you could imagine we don't get together nearly as often as both of us would like. But I do want to be clear about which things I say are reliable and which are not--that was one of the aspects of Charlie's teaching that really stuck and was, of course, only reinforced in graduate school.

So, we're going to get together for Samhain this week, all of us from school who are still in the area, plus a number of people who moved away and are coming back to visit. We've moved Carly's crib into our room to make a guest bedroom, and everyone, it seems like, is going to have someone on their couch or in their spare bedroom. We've adapted the old ceremony, and then we're going to have a big party the next day. It's funny, Carly is almost the same age now that Aiden was in the story. Of course, he's twelve, now, almost not a sprout anymore, but it's so easy to remember him as that baby boy dancing in his baby way at that pre-Samhain party. Carly is not as interested in walking as he was, but she can crawl already and is constantly getting into things. She's not as outgoing as Aiden was as a baby, but she likes to watch people.

It's very strange to see my own dominant characteristic suddenly appearing so blatantly in someone else.

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