And so the old year passes. I mean the school year is over, of course, but Samhain is the Celtic New Year, according to the Wiccans on campus, anyway. I've noticed they seem to see a death-and-rebirth theme in all of the sabbats. I said something about that to Kit, once, that it seemed like something was always ending and something else beginning, and she rolled her eyes and said "well, duh." She wasn't unfriendly about it, though.
Anyway, campus is growing quiet, chilly, and dark. A lot of people have left for the winter already, we've had our first hard frosts, and the leaves are almost all down from the trees. It very much seems as though something is over--it's not that I'm upset or gloomy, it's just that the world seems to be doing exactly what the Samhain imagery says it should.
And I was thinking about this--for some people it is very much an ending-and-beginning. The people graduating, for one. And there's David, Allen's son.
I bumped into him on Samhain day, walking towards the Mansion with some clothes and other things in his arms. We stopped to say hi, and when he saw me looking at the stuff he was carrying he freely admitted it was his ninja costume from the previous night.
"It was a pretty good disguise, don't you think?" he asked. "I looked like a real ninja. I wanted my last costume to be good one."
"Aren't we supposed to pretend I don't know that was you?" I asked him.
He shrugged a little.
"Maybe if the other kids were around," he began. "See, that's just it, though. I'm thinking about the other kids, pretending for their sake. And I spent half my time last night babysitting the Littles" --he meant Alexis and Billie, who are both only four--"I don't mind babysitting, but the whole point of Samhain is you get to do things you couldn't do with a babysitter watching you. I guess I'm just not a Sprout anymore, that's all."
"Really? You're not thirteen yet. You could go on being a Sprout, if you wanted to," I told him. He seemed sad, and I was sad for him. Being a Sprout looks like a lot of fun. I didn't want to see him stop any earlier than he had to.
"I guess," he replied, shrugging again. "But everything ends. That's the other point of Samhain." And he went on his way.