Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Hallowed

I love this time of year. The surge of power as the year dies. This is the true new year, and I just do not understand why this is not new year for everyone.
The days grow darker, and I pull my house together in preparation. The screens come down the storms go in, the big old farm windows that lift in and out in season go in again- and the noise level goes waaaaay down (a very good thing).
The colours are glorious- this is New England, after all. The very quality of light changes, thinning and piercing. The skies are grey and the treeline is gold and orange and red. Mount Wachusett looms purple, watching over us in the distance. Nashoba Valley bursts with apples and pumpkins. The days are crisp, and the nights are nippy. Will fleece do, or will I turn on the heat and stop shivering? (Heat wins- when it gets to the thirties, heat always wins!) The clocks have changed, so now the morning rising involves the rosy sunrise. Now the drive home is with the purple western sky at my back, and the sky is dark when I pull into the drive. I light candles each night, five or more, and when I retire, I light a few candles while I read myself into dreams. This is the time to make light.
And this day is All Hallows Evening- the holiest day on the Celtic calendar. This morning, I touched the stones from Newgrange. I looked at the little brass dish with the triskele, full of stones from the floor of the holiest place in Druidom, and I charged myself on its energy. Everything I did today took second place to the undercurrent I felt.
The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest tonight. I guard myself, yet I open myself.
My grandmother told me how, as a child in 1870's Ireland, they brought food out to the graves of their ancestors as a mark of respect; and how the braver brought food out to the hill they called the faery rath. The faery rath was excavated in the 1970’s and proved to be the ancient temple at Newgrange, with its sisters at Knowth and Dowth; the holy temples built by my Neolithic ancestors 500 years before the pyramids. I felt in my bones what was done there- saining in birth and in death, the passage between the worlds, the light of both.
Here in America, the celebration is a dim mockery of the original holy day. Children disguise themselves from the spirits and souls of their ancestors, and don masks to keep the dead away. They demand sugar- food offerings from the living. That's cool, if a tad commercial. I pride myself that my children never needed to buy their disguises. We always had a ready supply that we utilized far more frequently than most of the neighbors. My dress-up box provided fun for a generation. I was not averse to the occasional disguise (my urban professional is a mark of pride- today I was told that the drug rep in the meeting I attended as a student thought I was a lawyer!)
My gifts awaken on this day. I smell, I sense, I see, I think, I hear, I touch, I sing. I lit candles, I placed a spotlight to my front door. I placed a table near the door with autumn leaves in a Celtic knotwork pewter vase, with a tin pail of candy and some small gourds upon it. The little ghouls clamor, and the big ghouls with their candy roar with laughter when I approve of their pillowcases- this is the night for sugar greed.
This is the night for demands to be met. This is the night for far vision. This is the night for holy candles. This is the night for guests to be accommodated- whatever world they come from.
On this night we acknowledge- the veil between the worlds is thinner than we like to think about from day to day. This is something I have known always- but on this night, the world agrees with me.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A for Effort and B for Back to Square One

Started my second rotation this week in a large managed care facility. I think I am going to like this one as well.
Wrapped up my first rotation with an A+, which really shocked me since I thought I was awful at all the pharmacy entering and reimbursement stuff on the computer. The things I suck at were not the things Ralph thought would make a good pharmacist-the things I like and am good at- talking with the patients, showing them instead of telling them things, listening- he felt were a lot more important than remembering whether to hit enter, tab or function key. I miss them and know I will be back visiting as well as hanging w Heidi when I can. I will also miss #2 son dropping in for lunch nearly every week.
I had a call from Ditto- our friend who was my niece's college roommate. I used to IM them then we had a chat room they visited me in (hello Riverdance pals out there) so I got to know her and she's just like another member of the family at this point. She wanted to come up and visit for a night with a family member who had a crisis and needed a break. Buck cancelled his plans to go to Oktoberfest and we headed in to Boston. We had a really nice time, just had dinner and then we checked out Buck's apartment before coming home.
I woke at 5 am with my stomach churning- the food I had been served had been tainted somehow with gluten despite my discussion with the server about my food allergies. I was so sick I had to call in sick to work, which I had never done. I was relieved to find that a woman who trained me was on duty and could do the IVs that day. I have been sick since, it will take me weeks to heal. I am glad I went out but wish I had not eaten and I am not in a hurry to eat out again. I am annoyed to lose so much time walking- I had just gotten to a regular schedule. I am glad I didn't lose time to rotation, but my tail was dragging the whole last week. Back to square one.
I asked Buck to come mow my lawn and do some weeding since I was so wishy-washy, and then I pulled my back leaping to yank the cat back inside, so I am a real mess. My next-door neighbor pulled three bags of weeds from my walk, and Buck transplanted two mallows and a catmint to the front walk to help keep the weeds down (I needed some perennials there but can't afford to landscape yet). He mowed and took several trips to the dump with all the brush from all summer's weeding and trimming. I felt guilty not helping so I made a nice dinner. Pharmacy Son came home just as we were eating- and after all the work was done; perfect timing as usual. We watched a movie- I picked up all three Lord of the Rings movies recently as a birthday present for myself.
We went out on the Columbus Day holiday to shop- got Pharmacy Boy some new shoes for his crooked old feet, a belt, new sheets and a Celtics shirt- hey a boy only turns 21 once. He talked a bit about his new job- they have a managed care section so he does blisterpacking of a person's doses in some new machine. Sounded pretty cool.
So now I am in rotation #2 back in Worcester- can't believe it has moved so fast. It's been incredibly interesting so far. I am doing a lot of reading so trying to break it up with some music, brief walks around the office and spending time with the workers asking questions. Met a former coworker this am on my way in- she works on the same floor as me. Had lunch with an old friend from the neighborhood. This is going to be nice.
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