Dreaming the Night Away

Halloween, or All-Saints-Eve, or Samhain, or whatever name you choose to call that time of year, is traditionally seen as when the veil between worlds is the thinnest. It may very well be; who am I to say?

But for me, the veil is the thinnest at the winter solstice, or Yule, or Christmas, or whatever name you choose to call this time of year. This shortest day. At least in our hemisphere.

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Now is when most of life has spiraled down into that deep sleep and into those deep dreams. Bears are hibernating (or should be; there’s a local guy who didn’t get the memo). Trees have slowed their respirations and sap has seeped into the roots.

The days have shortened to this moment, and now they turn on their spiral and slowly begin moving upward. In a few days the light will be called back and the days will lengthen in increments too tiny for us to notice yet, as we rush through our hectic lives. But that sleeping, dreaming, earth out there knows.

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This time of year has always been full of magic for me. From the younger days when I clutched my wooden nutcracker because I just knew he would come to life at midnight on Christmas Eve, to a parent telling a skeptical child that I choose to believe in magic at Solstice. And that those who turn away from the magic, whether you call it Santa or something else, will have lost something forever.

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His magic elements – the dog sneaking up on the toast and jam, the tea, multiple books, his Fat Cat, the afghan his aunt made for him, and the long wait ahead.

So why wouldn’t the veil be the thinnest right now, in this deepest of sleep, in this darkest of nights?

Why wouldn’t there be magic?

My Christmas tree has always been my memorial tree. The decorations are old and showing their age, but each one was touched by someone in our family now gone. Each one has a story. And each winter season I remember. And they feel closer to me than at any other time in the year. This year we will add a tiny green kayak.

So no matter how you celebrate this time of year, I hope you sleep deeply and dream, and in the dreaming, find what you seek.

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Do You Remember?

Do you remember the first car you drove that had the high beam switch on the steering wheel column instead of on the floor? Everyone wanted a new car so you no longer had the dilemma of which to do first – step on the brake or depress the clutch, or dim the headlights.

Do you remember the first television remote? How it came with a cord that plugged into the TV? You didn’t have to get up to change channels anymore, but you had to sit on the carpet in the middle of the living room floor because you only had the length of that cord to work with. Everyone had to buy new televisions that had holes to plug remotes into.

Do you remember when VCRs came out? You could rent movies and keep them a few days. Everyone had to buy VCR machines and new televisions that were compatible.

Do you remember when Hi-Fi stereos came out and how everyone had to buy new record payers and albums that were 33 1/3 speed instead of 75s? Or when 45s came out and everyone had to buy those little yellow plastic centers so the 45 would play on the record player? Oh, the grand day when those hard plastic pieces came out that allowed you to play a stack of 45s!

Do you remember when 8-track tapes came out? How you had to buy all your favorite albums again, in 8-track format. Plus the player. Plus a new radio for the car.

Do you remember when cassette tapes came out? How they were so much more compact than 8-tracks. How you could now record your favorite song off the radio. Everyone had to buy their favorite albums again in the new format.

And then CDs came out.

And then digital came out.

And then Kindle appeared.

Little did we know, back in the days of high beam switches on the floor, that we, as a society, were being trained to not just buy the next new thing, but to buy all the paraphernalia necessary to operate the next new thing.

Little did we know that we were being trained to become a throw-away society, and that repairmen were a thing of the past. That one day it would become cheaper to buy new than to fix.

Little did we know that we were being trained to forget how to exist without all the fancy new things. How to light a room without electricity. How to cook without an electric or gas stove. How to have warm scarves and mittens for winter without buying them.

An Amish man once told me that he had nothing against modern conveniences. He just didn’t like not knowing how to live without them.

I wonder what new technological advance is on the horizon, and what it will cause us to forget.

The ‘Soliloquies Of A Goldfish’ Blog

When my son was little, he loved everyone. Each person that crossed his path deserved a huge hug as he pronounced his full name. Anyone he was introduced to, became a fast friend within moments.

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Arthur and his best friend, Abby

I used to dread the day when he realized that not everyone loved him in return, that not everyone could be trusted, that not everyone would be his friend. I wanted him to retain that simple belief in the goodness of people for as long as he could.

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Arthur and his still-best-friend Rowan

These days, of course, social media has redefined the word ‘friend’.

‘In my day’ (a phrase I never thought I’d be old enough to use) we had pen pals that we sent letters to. A much slower process than accepting a friend request by hitting a key on the computer. Now, instead of our pen pals existing on paper, with distinctive handwriting, and if you were lucky, a photo, our pen pals exist on a screen, with their lives displayed in high-digital clarity.

But here’s the thing. I kind of feel like I’ve turned into my son.

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Arthur and best friend (and aunt)

Putting myself out there publicly is necessary as a writer, but it comes with risks. It also comes with friends. I have met so many wonderful people. Both in the real world through writing events, and online through this blog, social media, editing jobs, and emails.

With WordPress, when someone new follows your blog, you get a short notice that links to that person’s blog. And sometimes WordPress will suggest a site you might like.

That’s how I’ve met other artists, including artist Jaime Haney, Bear’s Photography in Cornwall, writers, herbalists such as Whispering Earth, and many more. Typically the name of the blog catches my eye and that’s what makes me click on a link.

Today, I noticed that I have a new follower and she has a blog called ‘Soliloquies Of A Goldfish’. I couldn’t resist that name and clicked on the link. I read her ‘about’ page and found myself grinning at her great sense of humor. I read her short story Olivia and was impressed by the deeper layers and multiple meanings within the short story, and how she had a fully developed character in a short piece. And this is a young woman still in school. Wish I wrote half that well when I was her age. I wanted to jump up and wave and yell ‘Hi! Let’s talk writing!’

I suddenly realized that…hmmm…maybe my son inherited that trait of hugging everyone and making immediate new friends from my husband.

The internet has a lot to answer for, but it also is responsible for broadening our horizons, not just in meeting new people, but in finding art, in the easy access to learning, and in putting the world right at our typing fingertips.

I look forward to the next person I ‘meet’. In the meantime, look up Soliloquies Of A Goldfish and read some short stories by a talented young writer.

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