Little beauties. Yes, school pictures and all, it feels like fall here this week. Today is the equinox, and Eliza jokingly asked me if we had plans to go swimming again this year? The cool rain we're having suits me, gives me a pocket to sit in with my thoughts and quiet mood. (I'm laughing at myself for using the word "quiet"; the girls' friend E. is over today, while her mama works, and there is little that is quiet about their play! I think some combination of the three just got married in the next room...) In any case, their play gives me some moments to myself, after a week of a lot of chatter and closeness from Ani (lovely on good days, overwhelming on not-so-good days).
Fall holds such rich images of life and death for me, and it vibrates through me in a way the newness of spring does not. On the good days it sets creativity coursing through me; on the not-so-good days it brings me a heavy coat of melancholy to wear. This is the anniversary of my gramma's passing, the year we got married. I remember the last time we spoke on the phone as if it weren't already eleven years in the past, and feel willing to hold the sadness of that for a little bit. It is also the anniversary of some of our dearest friends' wedding on a beautiful day in the San Juan Islands (is there such a thing as a not beautiful day in the San Juans?). Life and death.
I read a version of the story of Persephone descending into the underworld to the girls last night, by flashlight, all of us on the bed under E's little fort. In this telling of the story (from Circle Round), Persephone is not abducted into Hades' underground kingdom - she is a strong and curious young woman who courageously journeys into an opening in the ground, wanting to see where the beauty and life of the spring's seeds comes from. When she wedges herself further and further into the cave, she finds herself stuck, unable to turn around. After wandering around with some spirits for a while, she encounters Hades, who falls in love with her and offers her a queendom. Gradually (and with the help of six pomegranate seeds) Persephone starts to feel the power and the beauty of the underground world, and embraces her role as Queen of Fire.
I loved this version for the power Persephone holds, even in the "undesirable" realm of the underworld. She is not a victim of death; she embodies the unseen side of the growth and beauty of her mother's bountiful spring and summer. She finds where the seeds of that growth and beauty come from.
It would be easy to give my power to the melancholy. To withdraw. To disconnect. I am looking for more fruitful ways to retreat, to live in that space without disappearing, to work with the richness that exists in these beautiful darkening days.