This morning when I woke up the road was wet and there wasn’t much light, but the oak tree was looking good with golds, bronzes, and greens all together. (We are also being pelted with acorns!) We have had some discussions about this (a side effect of traveling in the car for long distances I think), and have decided that while at “peak color” the maples can really blow you away, we like this point where you still have the many greens and the golds and reds are highlights and accents.
I have started missing the light, which is hardly surprising when it’s past the equinox. If I wake up at a reasonable time it’s still a little dark, and when I start making supper it’s getting dark. I am SO not looking forward to winter this year. This may be a little because I am beginning to feel a bit achey on colder days. I hardly feel I have an excuse to complain. So many of my friends have learned to deal with arthritis and other aches or worse pains graciously starting much younger. Today in my reading I came across the phrase “an old man, 62 years of age, died…” Excuse me!? I’m 62! I’m not OLD! OK, from the perspective of a teenager, I’m kind of old. But when you know a bunch of people in their 70s, 80s and 90s, 60s doesn’t seem that old. At this point it’s all health- the numbers that count aren’t age but how much weight you can carry (and how much you weigh), your blood pressure and various other lab test numbers! But I’ve never had a huge range of comfortable lighting, I don’t like dim and I don’t like too bright, and it’s getting smaller as I get older. Feh! On the other hand, on days the sun comes out, it is totally gorgeous.
We’ve had both days cold enough to be burn off the woodstove, and hot- I think Saturday was in the 80s! Yesterday Kat described as a “half a sweater day”- too hot to wear one, but too cool not to, I suggested a cotton sweater. I adjust my layers, sometimes wearing stockings, sometimes not.
When we’ve gone out this week we’ve watched the progress as they are resurfacing Route 31. Last week we had to drive around the raised manhole covers in Wilton, this week it’s flat again- and SO smooth- beautiful and black and velvetty. I can’t get cross about waiting as we pass the work crews when they’re laying it down so we have to be in a single lane. Last week several places had the scored pavement so dangerous for motorcycles, I think so the new asphalt will grip it. I know that in a week it will be dusty (and there’ll be a line down the middle), and by spring it will have cracked again, but I’m enjoying it now, and have such admiration for the road crews!
In the news I see that Ebola has hit the US. It’s not like they haven’t been warning everyone about it since early summer! I haven’t seen anything about Fergusson recently, but there have been a lot of other stories about police excesses. I think maybe people have been hesitant to risk calling their local police out. I remember when we were on the throne, when we were trying to do something about people who hit too hard/ wouldn’t accept blows, a local marshal reminded us that no matter how much support we gave him for the six months we were on the throne, if he complained, he’d never get a knighthood. That let us know just how much power we didn’t have. As long as the police have the authority to make people’s lives miserable, and get away with anything, there’s not much people can do about them. Sadly, it’s the places in which they aren’t a problem that they can be reasoned with, and places where they can’t, is where help is needed. I have no idea how that can be addressed. Willow has wondered if it isn’t like the 100th Monkey Effect. When there are enough abusive cops out there, it somehow influences all other cops on some subconscious level to be more abusive. I expect it can also work the other way, and the more cops who are caught on cell phones (BTW, in case anyone ever tells you that you have to turn in your phone or erase pictures you took because they are police, it’s not true), the more likely it is that other people will dare to hold their local police up to reasonable standards. I’d like to think that this will end up with police departments getting rid of the bullies and people who don’t get that violence isn’t the way to resolve issues.
Saturday we went down to the Western Massachusetts Pagan Pride Day- last in the series for us, and we did very well. Having finished writing last week’s letter at nearly midnight, and having to get up at six to get there by nine, I was seriously sleep deprived- actually traded off driving and slept a bit on the way down. I taught palmistry, which luckily, as I joked, I can teach in my sleep. I find it amazing at how what’s going on in our lives shows in our bodies. Considering the nerves in our hands are so much more numerous than most places in our bodies- this image shows how big different parts of our body would be if the number of nerves was equal in all parts- we really depend on our hands (and our mouths to a lesser extent) it’s not surprising that you can tell so much about a person from their hands. Anyway, it was down in Northampton, and there were lots of people who came by. Maybe not quite as many as when they had it on the Amherst Common, but a lot! They put the music out front this time, and had the classes inside. We were under a beech tree that seemed to selectively drop beech husks on Willow’s head whenever she got out from under the pop up, and nuts on mine. Weird. On the way home we stopped at Applebee’s, and were all thoroughly happy that this “every weekend” bit is done for a while.
Not that Willow doesn’t have to gear up for the fall anime cons they’ll be going through. She’s been sewing blankets all summer and I think she mentioned that she’s got 15 ready to back. Now she’s got to reinventory what she’s got because she lost her “to make” list. Kat’s been writing, she’s really good, and I wish she didn’t write the way I read, a bit on this project, a bit on another. We’re talking about going down to Lowell to look at the mills because her “steam punk” novel has some mill girls in it. I also liked her necromancer story- but she dropped it when criticized. I recently read that it’s a women thing- we internalize criticism more strongly than praise; I always thought it was an “artist/writer” thing. You get a hundred compliments, “ah, your just saying that!”, then you get one stupid insult and it’s “I suck! I can’t do this at all!” I think we all bounce back and forth between thinking “this is really good!” and “this stinks” all the time.
Sunday I spent on the computer- I tried to skype into the Twilight Covening Leaders Meeting, but while it worked last time, this time I was never able to make the connection. Darn. I also worked on the CTCW website, but was probably too foggy from not being quite caught up on my sleep and didn’t get very far. I am glad reading is supposed to be good for you, because it’s about all I’m fit for just now.
Among the things I’m reading are Claude LeCouteau’s Secret history of Vampires, Sabriel, a fantasy novel Kiaya said she’d really liked as a kid- which is about a necromancer, Charms, Charmers and Charming, Terry Prachett’s writing about Assisted suicide, and I also recently tripped over a video by Raymond Moody (the Near Death Experience expert) talking about suicide- I love that he said that he says that you have to talk about it. So lots of reading about death. I’m convinced that NOT talking about something is never a good idea, although I can understand why people might avoid it in the modern world. Considering that you could lose your job, access to your children, and all sorts of things if you admit it, because people have a weird misunderstanding of mental illness is rediculous. Can they discriminate against you because you have physical problems? (Well, yes, they can, although they have to be sneakier about it.) But I think that one in ten Americans are supposed to be suffering from depression, you’d think we’d be more accepting. Yes, anti-depressants, like all drugs, have a risk/benefit balance that needs to be watched. If the medications can help, that’s good, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be carefully monitored. Depression also has a high correlation with financial difficulty, so I’m wondering if there’d be a lot less if we improved the economy, and if that kind of therapy should be kept inexpensive. This runs back into the whole “socialized medicine” thing. On the one hand you have a situation where only the rich can afford good medical care, on the other you have a culture in which the idea that maintaining everyone’s health (mental and physical) makes the country work better and saves money, time, etc. for everyone in the long run. It’s not unlike vaccination. It’s covered because it’s good for the group.
But the nice things about both fantasy and metaphysics is that they address what actually happens to the person who dies, not just the people who are left behind. I think it’s pretty clear that the laws against suicide are based on the problems that are created for the people who are torn up by feelings of guilt and frustration over the suicide of a friend or relative. Having a loved one die in an accident, or from a slow illness is always difficult, but since we’ve decided that we should be able to prevent people from killing themselves somehow, that reinforces the feelings of failure whenever it happens. The possibility of assisted suicide by opening up lines of communication, opens up many possibilities. First, once you’ve accepted that suicide is not a hostile act, and not a necessarily irrational one, then you can start talking rationally about the various implications of the person not being there, and you may be able to come up with ways of making the miserable life better. Or the people left behind may understand better. Frankly I find it offensive that someone has the right to insist that their pain from your action carries more weight than your pain that motivates your action. That’s pretty selfish and not respecting the position of the person who wants to stop his own pain.
One of the stories in LeCouteau’s book is about a revenant who returned to ask his brother (and heir) to give back money to people he’d cheated, or he’d never be able to rest because of his sins. His brother took the position that his brother had committed the sins, and should have taken responsibility for him while he was alive, and it wasn’t HIS debts, so the dead brother could suffer for them. Very fair and pragmatic, if not very nice. Clearly there’s a pattern of people who stick around being miserable and often angry (and dangerous). The good dead are the ones who head off into the other world and stop interacting with us.
Suicide is often seen as a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but frankly when people start making judgements about other people they often forget that what is seen as an obvious or easy solution to them is not seen that way by everyone. What one person knows is not always know by others- hence the roll of social workers who can tell people about solutions to problems they experienced as something they were going to have to spend the rest of their lives just living with (or dying). I know that when people give me advice they tend to suggest changing my life to be closer to their idea of a good life, not mine. I worry that I do the same. You can’t tell how much someone else hurts, only accept it when they say they do. One of the articles in the Charms book was about charms as a means of coping. It went back to the basic Frazerian dichotomy about religion and magick. Religion is what is done publicly for the good of all, magick is what is done privately for personal benefit. (I am not actually convinced that is true.) Thus, they argue, that charms are a way for people to try to deal with situations in which they feel out of control. The charms give them a feeling of “doing something”. To pray is probably just to put it in God’s hands, you may express a preference, but you are going to accept whatever happens. With a charm you’re trying to fix things. Personally, I see no reason not to try to fix anything you can. Not mentioning problems may, in fact, prevent panic, but it’s not a good system of coping with almost any problem I can think of.
And that’s what I’ve been reading and thinking about this week!
Other things that have been going on- Willow went out and ate sushi with Avi yesterday, then Avi came
over, and we played board games. That’s us taking it easy.
Meanwhile my niece Meg had brain surgery- I think it’s OK for me to share that because it’s on fb. I was really impressed by the website CaringBridge that lets people keep all their friends updated on their medical progress in one place. I think that’s brilliant. She describes it as a “super minor brain surgery”, and seems to be dealing beautifully with everything. I’m not sure whether this hair-do that she got last week was something she really wanted, or was just having fun because she knew she was about to have her head shaved. It is fun, and I might do something like that if I was going to have brain surgery.
Oh, I got a picture of the lovely laurel bead (in preference to a medallion) Julia made me. Now I have to attach it permanently to my string of beads. If I have this one, I should probably figure out what other awards I have and get beads for those as well.
I guess that’s about it- we are intentionally trying to rest, recover from the PPD days, and not do much. Most of my time is spent on Changing Times Changing Worlds and I figure that it’s probably gotten pretty boring for you. On the other hand, if you’re willing to tell anyone who might be interested in anything with energy healing, divination, mythology, etc. about it, please let them know through talking about it, or social media (link to website) because frankly I am feeling like I don’t know Jack about advertising, and can use all the help I can get.
“Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.”
James Russell Lowell