I was driving home with Keith Whitley playing on my iPod, and he had reached his last song – his best – before I realized October had passed. Tell Lorrie I Love Her is November music, straight from the grave to your heart, where it leaves teeth marks. Golden October is in tatters; summer’s sunlit memory has faded again into gray reality.
Keith Whitley, of course, is irrevocably dead and Lorrie left to mourn.
We laugh at mortality on Halloween. Brave behind our masks and paint, drunk on chocolate, wine, and our own audacity. We are benign ghosts in bedsheets, vampires with blood-tipped fangs, stiff-legged zombies – our dance is set to the glorious tempo of gentle, sparkling fall.
November calls us to sober up, chills us to the bone with unforgiving winds and skeletal trees -darkness, always, a mere breath away.
Wiccans preach a thinning of the veil, now – something you can almost see, as though the sky is smeared in charcoals, and beyond it . . . maybe? Can you discern? A hand reaching for you? Leave an empty seat at the dinner table, then. Set out food and wine.
Pooh! Hocus Pocus!
Catholics celebrate All Soul’s Day. How close are the beloved in November! They’re in the smart of incense tearing the eyes; their shadows blend with those of the living in the twist of candlelight, and a priest – a good priest – will remind his congregation, now, of who they are.
Don’t be afraid, he will say.
Don’t be afraid because you are part of this glorious, horrible, confounding bundle of humanity here on earth. Because, yes, you are bone, sinew, teeth, but you are also soul, and that is the part you feel sorrowing right now, reaching and remembering.
The departed are reaching too, from the other side. And maybe here, now - when you need it the most - you can remember just a breath of the place they call home? The place you, too, came from – is it blue or green? Or - are those just words we need here? Pretty words that we put to a color, a feeling we can’t quite grasp because humanity eclipses spiritual and that other place is lost to us now.
But not quite. Gray November calls us to remember. Remember light, remember love, arms around you, kisses on your forehead. Remember that nobody is ever really lost to you. If you go outside and shout I love you! they will hear you. If you whisper it in your heart, they will hear you.
And that nudge, that feeling - that awareness – is your answer. Heed it, carry it close. You’re only a transient here on November’s shores, a lost gypsy, and your soul knows that even if you don’t. Your soul hears the music on the other side of the veil; it danced there before time, and it will again.
Importing my blog onto the new website has been quite the feat. My team and I are still in the process of categorizing and fine-tuning the years of posts you'll find here. We hope you enjoy our work-in-progress library. Check back soon for updates!