Saturday, November 01, 2014

to me the all saints' day/all souls' day/dia de los muertos holidays are the high holy holidays, the best of them all, but i say that mostly because of the weather, as opposed to say, really knowing their history or their origins. i read an article tonight about all saints' day and all souls' day, but the comments were full of harshly worded rants by pagans who are apparently still mad that the christians moved the christian holidays on top of what was originally a pagan holiday. my impression had been the opposite, that hallowe'en had turned a christian all saints' day holiday into a wild chocolate orgy, much in the same way carnival had changed the nature of lent. but humans being humans, you'll have all of everything in each one, anyway.

tonight is the big texas game here in lubbock, and because both texas and texas tech are lower-order teams, reeling from terrible seasons, it's mostly a texas-pride kind of drinking holiday; what matters here is that the game is in the evening, so people can drink all day, go to the game, and then drink all night regardless of who wins. as i write it's 20-13 longhorns, but i know mostly because the heartbeat of the neighborhood, the lifeblood, the very air is permeated with the game. i take out the garbage and i can hear the game from the alley, coming from people's radios or televisions. the nature of the traffic will change according to who wins. i'll know when the game is over. football is a religion around here; the fact that all saints' day and the texas game fall on the same day is nothing short of very ironic.

now to me, immersed as i am in making my own holidays, and giving them their own interpretations, i'm mostly interested in this fact: the fall back inception of daylight savings time is falling this year on the cusp of all saints' day and all souls' day. of the two, i consider all souls' day far more serious; we pray for all souls, especially the ones who are caught between, and for the little children, the angelitos, in the case of dia de los muertos which is really a kind of celebration and a time to decorate skulls and make fantastic art. all souls, though, i'm much more into that than just glorifying these old catholic guys like john paul or whoever they make into a saint. i don't want to get caught up in whether some old pope should still be a saint even if he let the nazis do their thing during his reign, or he oversaw an empire that was responsible for hundreds of pedophiles getting away with it and even being protected. i'm not catholic. i just want to take in this beautiful cool weather and pray for all souls, especially the ones who are caught between.

businesses write off thousands of dollars of tax breaks bringing whole kegs down to the campus on football saturday, and then they're in the uncomfortable position of turning down minors who happen to be there looking for some fun, and wearing the tech black and red in order to fit in and have a good time. i saw one guy wearing a texas burnt-orange, and i almost told him, wrong shirt, but he was friendly, as everyone is, and besides, texas has a fairly wide following all over the place. another guy was scalping tickets on university. traffic was compulsive, maybe people were already drunk. police were all over the neighborhood because people like to park illegally and i think they wanted us homeowners to see them and know they were out there watching out for us. by game-time they're gone, watching the game like everyone else. it's all people care about, besides maybe the cowboys. i hate pointing out that football kills people, particularly boys, that kind of puts a needle in their balloon, so mostly i just shut up and sometimes i even talk football because i'm a man and how can you avoid it? fortunately we're kind of lousy because if we were any good, people would get more arrogant and probably expect me to actually know something about it.

hallowe'en, election day, sadie hawkins day, and guy fawkes day all share this little window of holidays, along with all saints' day/all souls' day/dia de los muertos/daylight savings time. but hey, the most incredible thing is the weather and nature itself. nationwide, if you watch the trees, you will see things change from a brilliant, show-your-colors display, absolutely stunning in the northern woodlands, to a kind of burnt-orange brownish color, steadily turning into the earthy brown that they will spend the winter in. some, like the pin oaks, never fully change or hold out well into january. evergreens hold out all winter. sometimes you'll be walking by and some leaf will take it upon itself to just fall, but not fall straight down, rather in that kind of back-and-forth, esoteric gentle way dancing in front of your nose as you walk. high holy days, that's what i call them. this year they're giving us that extra hour, at midnight tonight, though i'll probably be sound asleep, and the occurrence of that hour on the cusp of all saints'/all souls' is i think what makes this the holiday of all holidays. better even than thanksgiving, which, delicious as all that traditional food is, is full of family angst and people trying to drive on ice-covered northern roads. these holidays, hardly anyone even notices. they're all at the game, and they call this weather football weather. they're celebrating a pagan ritual involving concussions and massive amounts of alcohol.

i'm just getting used to dia de los muertos, which involves decorating skulls, and hanging around cemeteries with picnic lunches celebrating and praying for ancestors and the dead. the idea roughly is that death is not to be feared, or hated, or portrayed as dark, evil or controlled by witches and such. these souls are real people, and we need to reach out and join them as they are closer to us than ever. and it's not morbid, or dark, or bloody. one puts roses or other flowers around the skulls and paints them in different colors and the kids get involved, everyone reaches out. not that i have a clue, of course, i just got here. in some border towns or hispanic-dominated areas the anglos have taken to it with a passion. but it seems one has to unravel some of our own twisted ideas before one can have a healthier view of the whole thing. it's not easy, and the candy-bath store-boughten witch holiday just kind of mucks it up.

heard a story about "windy man" the other day. the city of lubbock doesn't go in much for sculpture, or art, or spending public money making things beautiful, but at one point they bought a couple of sculptures of "windy man" and put one of them up in a prominent place. letters poured in to the local newspaper, the avalanche-journal, decrying "windy man" as pagan. in fact, he did look a little like those old decorated-up art figures of god himself blowing the wind, but because it was clearly god-like, but not christian, it must be pagan, and people said it had to go. finally in the middle of the night somebody destroyed windy man with a sledgehammer. maybe they were mad that the city wasn't faster to just give up the thousand-dollar (or whatever) commission on the art, and just throw it away on their own. they're really quite cheap with public money here, and they didn't want to spend it and then leave "windy man" in some city warehouse garage. but in any case, the vandalism, probably caused by someone who had plenty of other problems, affected everyone. lubbock has changed a lot, people say, in the intervening ten years. now they can have art, they say. i'm not sure i believe them, but, fortunately, i'm not putting up any statues. i see a lot of decorative suns around. ok, i guess you can call them graven images, but, they're just suns, too.

sorry to bore you with religion, which nobody really wants to hear, but which always makes for a good fight. out in the alley, cats skittered away as i took out the garbage and put the cars in the garage out of harm's reach. put the bicycle away, too, and i'll lock the doors before it's all over. we live on a busy corner, and all kinds of things happen. and eventually i'll go to bed, the noise on the streets, cars going by, actually comforting me and not keeping me awake in any way. middle of the night, it's one deserted intersection out there, and i kind of like that, it's kind of like christmas break, when we might even get some snow, and it all lies there nice and soft and peaceful, and the students are gone. there are lots of stars here, more even than the small town i moved here from, but there are a lot of medivac helicopters as we live in close proximity to the hospitals. and the police and fire, if they ever get going, we hear them a lot too, and just get used to it. it's game night, and saturday night, and it's a wild college town, things are going to happen. and then, they'll clean it all up in the morning.

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