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October light

October light

It’s said that All Hallows’ / Samhain is a “thin time,” when the separation between the corporeal and spirit worlds is very thin. Celebrated and commemorated through All Saints and Dia de los Muertos rituals, the spirits of those we love but who are no longer living with us are central during this period.

It was very much a liminal few days for me, with thoughts and feelings of loved ones very much present. Halloween, always an excuse for a party in San Francisco, was topped with a parade for the San Francisco Giants World Series victory. It all meant that my city was in a celebratory mood. On November 1st, a neighbor asked me “how was your Halloween?” “Good.” I said, with a smile. His young son was eating candy for breakfast. Actually, I stood on a thin edge.

My emotions were so near the surface that it made being in public a challenge. I cried easily and often, for grief and happiness: grief for my loss and failures, and happiness for the good memories. I included my dad and my dog among those dead to be included in prayers at church. I went from thinking of loved ones to seeing the joy of a family with their 6-day-old child and twin toddlers, and cried for both. I hope people at church just figured I had a cold, based on how often my handkerchief was out.

I felt the blessing of sunshine and the fall breeze on my skin, and missed my dog Phoebe. Phoebe and I would have been together outdoors on a hike or in the garden on such a day. She would have set a quick pace up and down hills a few years ago, but went far more slowly the past few years. Out for a walk at a brisk pace, traveling past our old haunts, I miss her. She’s been gone just 4 months now. At least outdoors, it was sunny enough to wear my Oakley sunglasses, which hid my misty eyes from people on the street.

And then there’s the headache that tends to follow after all that emotion. To give myself a break, I immerse myself in a really good book. Here’s a quote from one by Diana Gabaldon, whose writing made me think of this as a “thin time.”

“This is the thin time, when the beloved dead draw near. The world turns inward, and the chilling air grows thick with dreams and mystery.”
Diana Gabaldon, An Echo in the Bone

Tuolumne Meadows

Tuolumne Meadows

I have recently had the time – and inclination – to carefully follow my Twitter feed, tweeting occasionally, re-tweeting in bursts, and replying on a variety of topics. It’s been a luxury to wallow in, as well as exasperating and hilarious at times. I’ve built up my feed from a diverse set of topics, from professional to personal interests. As a result, I get updates on #impinv (impact investing) and #socent (social enterprise), #climate change, #collecon (collaborative economy), #sharing and #susty (sustainability) to updates from PBS NewsHour, The Economist and The Atlantic. I get posts from authors Anne Lamott and Diana Gabaldon, people focused on providing capital to women, and the San Francisco Giants. I’m also following the production team and cast of the new Outlander series. Sometimes it makes my head explode, but all the different inputs stretch my thinking and give me numerous “squirrels” to chase. Speaking of which, just a second ….

Sorry, I just had to respond to a post on how depictions of rape in film are/aren’t helpful on a discussion form that I found through my Outlander thread. Then I started to consider whether I should write a post on how interesting the forum discussion is, ranging from gender bias in the workplace to depictions of women and sex on TV. Then I had to check for updates on Twitter, and look at some naturally-dyed fibers, think about knitting projects, and read a post on whether to write longhand or using a computer. And while I do both, I am using a computer right now ….

Did I mention that I started the initial notes for this post almost a week ago?

Still Waters, Tuolumne Meadows

Still Waters, Tuolumne Meadows

Anyway, sometimes my “squirrels” take me into interesting little eddies of the flow, or little pools where I can stay for a bit, before letting the currents take me further. And sometimes, I connect unexpected dots, both serious and fun, whether gender empowerment (too numerous to mention) or the San Francisco Giants. Who knew that @RonDMoore and @TheHealthPolicyGroup are also #SFGiants fans?! And I learned a little bit about baseball scorekeeping. [squirrel!]

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Squirrel! Tuolumne Meadows

I know this luxury of time won’t last, but I’m enjoying it while it does. I’m @elizlk, if you want to join me.