October 20th, 2002

abstract butterfly

chilly Octobers of the soul

"The past speaks to us in a thousand voices, warning and comforting, animating and stirring to action. What its great thinkers have thought and written on the deepest problems of life, shall we not hear and enjoy? The future calls upon us to prepare its way. Dare we fail to answer its solemn summons?"

--Felix Adler, 1876

The late night cable news stations focused on the latest shooting in Virginia last night, another horrible misdeed in a month of misdeeds. I feel so badly for the families who have been brought grief by a media-hungry gunman, for lives lost needlessly, based on grim whimsy.

I cannot do anything about evening snipers in shopping malls and cheap steak place parking lots. But times like this make me want to focus on what I can do to make this life a little less grim.
abstract butterfly

leggy marigolds

In a last October burst, all the marigolds in our neighborhood this wet, chilly, sweet October now stand on tall tree legs, and show radiant oranges. The butterflies are mostly gone, but moths flitter about in a last gasp before November sweeps them all in and sweeps everything away. Lots of people seem to have planted mums when I wasn't paying attention, and suddenly every yard has sprouted a witch, a ghost, a tombstone or a scarecrow. I would like to come up with something for our yard appropriately seasonal, but I'll skip the mums. I posted two more postcards of botanical garden flowers out--we all need a few blooms right now. I thought a saw a pathway through the fog, but then it turned out to be Channel 11 on a billboard. I wish I had a few stray plastic skeletons laying around because I'm in a sorta swinging Days of the Dead mood.

Los Angeles' faux Mexican market is Olvera Street, just off Los Angeles street downtown. It dates back to the 19teens or 19twenties, and is a bunch of shops and stalls selling inexpensive Mexican folk art. The prices are usually roughly Tijuana size, which means that it is much more than, say, the Tonala suburb of Guadalajara, and much less than one's average Mexican folk art store in the rest of the country. They always have oodles of Days of the Dead folk arts stuff, the mass produced but nonetheless charming stuff. Our dollar stores here, by contrast, get mostly saint candles, which are cool, and inexpensive, but not quite Dias de Los Muertos. I've never owned a saint candle, and I've never been to Spain, but I've been to Oklahoma, and I'm planning to watch "Angel" on television tonight.

I remember July. It seems long ago now. Welcome, October,
my soul feels a giant forest festival coming on.