the darker half of the year

10.31.20 ~ full blue moon, Barn Island Wildlife Management Area
Pawcatuck, Connecticut
~

I tremble with gratitude
for my children and their children
who take pleasure in one another.

At our dinners together, the dead
enter and pass among us
in living love and in memory.

And so the young are taught.

~ Wendell Berry
(This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems)

It’s been almost a year since we’ve gathered to eat with our children and grandchildren and ancestors. I miss those times. Some day we will all be together again in person but for now we will be grateful for our video calls.

When we know about our ancestors, when we sense them as living and as supporting us, then we feel connected to the genetic life-stream, and we draw strength and nourishment from this.
~ Philip Carr-Gomm
(Druid Mysteries)

We have reached the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year. Earth’s energy has shifted and the veil between the spirit world and our world has lifted for a few days. It’s a time to reflect on and honor the lives of our ancestors. Three of mine died in an epidemic in the winter of 1711-1712. With this knowledge I do draw strength and nourishment.

We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.
~ Dr. Anthony Fauci
(CNN, October 30, 2020)

35 thoughts on “the darker half of the year”

  1. Thank goodness we have things like video calls and emails and texts and phone calls to stay closed to our loved ones until we can safely be together again.

    1. It is some kind of miracle that we can still see and hear our loved ones, not just in pictures, but watch them play and listen to them giggle in real time. 🙂

  2. Wonderful post. I took a photo just like this of the beautiful moon the other night. I like the quote by Anthony Fauci – it is sad, but true. We all wish for better times to return.

    1. Thank you, Peggy. I was grateful for clear skies for a change — I usually miss moon events due to cloud cover — and am glad you got a good picture, too. Maybe it’s a hopeful sign! I thought I’d save Dr. Fauci’s words for history. Maybe my great-grandchildren will be curious about these days.

      1. I sent Dr. Fauci’s words to my daughter on Facebook messenger. They are very true. This pandemic seems to be out of control. Maybe generations to come will learn from our mistakes.

  3. A thoughtful post under the light of the moon. I wonder about the November & December family gathering – whether they will be or not. Yet, I am thankful for people like Dr. Fauci and the work they are doing during this critical time.

    1. We decided months ago that we’re keeping our bubble intact until there is a vaccine, even though we’re sad about not gathering with our family for the holidays. When Dr. Fauci and Dr. Gupta said they are not seeing their families in person either we felt even more settled that we made a wise decision.

    1. Thank you, Melissa! And you had clear skies, too! We went to a wildlife sanctuary with the tripod to take this picture. It was dark and spooky until moonrise, and then we heard a fox bark…

  4. Beautiful picture of the full blue moon. I shot a few photos on Halloween after watching trick or treaters for a couple of hours. There was a costume contest in my friend’s neighborhood and I would not have wanted to judge it because most of the children were dressed in very elaborate guises. Many of the parents were, too. But it was heart-warming to see families and siblings together and helping one another out. And almost without fail, the children wished those watching a Happy Halloween. It was a memorable evening.

    1. Thank you, James! I’m glad to hear you had a good Halloween — it sounds like it was a lot of fun. We got pictures of the grandchildren, six-year-old granddaughter was an owl with some pretty impressive hand made feathers, two-year-old grandson was a pirate, more handsome than scary. They live in a cohousing community so all the households left treats at the end of their sidewalks and waved to the children from their porches. Everyone was wearing a mask in addition to the careful social distancing. It warmed my heart that they made such an effort to make it fun for the kiddos.

      1. Sounds wonderful Barbara. And I don’t know that I have seen an owl on Halloween so that’s clever! I was at my friend’s house in Whitefish and they had a similar protocol to the one you described. My friend and his wife, though, put out two tables. One was for chocolate treats and the other non-chocolate. To my amazement, because I’m a chocolate guy, the non-chocolate treats nearly ran out! My friend, Chuck, was feverishly loading new loot bags while wearing latex gloves and a mask. A neighbor counted and there were approximately sixty trick-or-treaters, which is a record for Chuck and Debby. So nice to see that given the Covid crisis.

        Thanks again for your kind replies, not just with me but with all who comment. Very generous. I look forward to every new post you make.

        1. I hope that means there was more chocolate for you when all was said and done! 😉 It looks like everyone did their best to give the children a fun Halloween in spite of the pandemic. I often wonder what the children will remember of these days. It warms my heart, James, to know you’re enjoying my blog and the comments, too. 💙

  5. What a lovely photo of that gorgeous moon! I, too, am concerned that too many people aren’t taking this virus seriously enough. Too many in-person gatherings, too few masks (despite signs “requiring” them), and too much frustration over the disruption to everyday life. Thank goodness, we don’t have to wait for snail mail to bring us news of family and friends though. This, too, shall pass … right??

    1. Thank you, Debbie! Yes, it is so important to remember that this too will pass, that nothing lasts forever. It may seem like a long time but we can do it and it would end sooner if people would be more willing to make a few sacrifices and cooperate with the experts. Sometimes we need to forgo immediate pleasures in order to have a brighter future. And like you say, at least we don’t have to wait for snail mail!

  6. Over the years, when we have had family dinners and there is sometimes one chair left vacant, I often wonder which of our ancestors is seated in that chair and enjoying our conversations.
    I hope you can be with your family again soon, Barbara. Stay safe. <3

    1. Thank you, Joanne. ♡ It’s comforting to know the ancestors are still connected. I keep pictures of many of our ancestors framed and on the shelves of my grandmother’s secretary in my dining room. So when I read this poem it made me smile. Someday soon we will do this again.

      1. I have framed photos of my ancestors in my office, Barbara. 🙂 For me, they give me a sense of belonging. I am who I am – just as we all are with our individual ancestors – because of that person, so even if we never met them, they have played a significant role in shaping who we are. 🙂

        1. And now the study of epigenetics seems to indicate we not only inherit DNA from our ancestors, but experiences that can turn certain genes on or off in their expression. The more we learn! Our ancestors’ roles in shaping who we are may be even more significant than we ever imagined. 💙 🙂

  7. I’ve been holding out in the thought/belief/hope that we could share the Thanksgiving table with our daughter and her family – three children, and in-laws. But you remind me that this time, probably not a good idea. Next year – we’ll celebrate. And yes, aren’t we lucky we can Zoom and talk together. Your full moon shot is fabulous!

      1. Thank you, Pam! It was as if the universe decided to give me a break and remove the clouds during a moon event for once. 🙂 Moon magic. Yes, next year we will celebrate in person, but this year in spirit and online. I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem, my heart skipped a beat when I first read it, as it seemed to highlight for me exactly what would be missing this year. But in the end, love will trancend death and distance.

  8. What a gorgeous moon! We had a clear night for Halloween as well. We are lucky for video conferencing – I have no relatives so I’ve not tried that yet, nor had a medical conference either. I did have to see the doctor today for my allergies … once a year I have to see the doctor, the rest of the time, just get shots. Unfortunately I was asked to remove my mask so the doctor could look into my throat – I was annoyed as I never remove it when out and then had to put it back on – I never touch my face. For the one-second “peek” it could have waited for next year.. Grrr. I hope this time next year you are writing of your preparations for holiday get togethers. I respect Dr. Fauci very much and what a row he has had to hoe this year with doubters and people disparaging him at every turn. I heard him give the speech you referenced. Our stats are rising at an incredible and scary manner here.

    1. Our stats are growing at an alarming rate, too. Each day on the local news they keep stressing that contact tracers are reporting that it is the small gatherings of family and friends that is the main source of community spread. I think it may be starting sink in around here. Things are very quiet in the neighbors’ units these days. More people are wearing masks when outdoors now. I agree, Dr. Fauci is my barometer when deciding what the best course of action will be for us… Poor Tim had to go inside to the MVD a couple of weeks ago to renew his drivers license, and had to take his mask off for the picture.

      1. Our Chief Medical Executive/Officer, Dr. Khaldun, has been the Governor’s go-to person since day #1 of the pandemic. She gave some sobering news yesterday that our state will see 100 deaths per day at year end if we do not be mindful and social distance, mask up and eliminate all gatherings for the holidays. Right now, we have higher stats than in the beginning of the pandemic back in March/April. That does scare me … I will not return to the allergist if stats continue to climb like that – once more before the holidays – after that, no. Poor Tim – I’d have been angry but that makes more sense than yesterday. If I was going right home, it would not be bad, but I was not. I wear a paper mask, and cover it with a neoprene mask when I go to a store … I have actually two neoprene masks in different sizes, medium and large. They fit well, no gaps and when I’m out, I’m not chatting a long time so it moves and it is comfortable – I have no issues wearing the mask(s) at all. In the Summer I wore paper masks to the Park – no one masked up there, but we were told outdoors is safe. I had bandanas before it got hot and will return to those for the Park after this warm-up we’re having through Tuesday.

        1. Sobering news, indeed. I had to look up neoprene mask — never heard that term before. So many choices! Stay safe, Linda, and enjoy your spell of warm weather. 🙂

          1. Yes, but with today’s election news, perhaps we can overcome COVID-19 sooner rather than later – fingers crossed. The neoprene masks I got (in the two sizes) fit well and the only part that does not fit well is a seam down the middle of the mask and it is pointy there so no issues breathing at all. I just got them at the grocery store as I wanted something thicker than the bandanas I wore at the beginning of the pandemic. I wore paper masks to the park all Summer, but nowhere else. Thank you Barbara – our weather was absolutely gorgeous today. Tomorrow I have to do all my yardwork after I get home from walking, but I sure won’t freeze out there!

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