(Yes, I've posted the same picture twice now. It took me hours to carve those pumpkins. Deal.)
My profound personal and spiritual relationship with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups notwithstanding, I don't really get Halloween. I'm not sure I see the point of adults celebrating pagan rituals in strange outfits unless it leads to large amounts of sex. I'm fine with the kid portion of it, and last year I devoted an entire weekend to making costumes for the girls, but as for claiming it as a gay holiday, well, since when do the gays need an excuse to throw a party?
(Apparently, there's some feeling somewhere that the gays are losing their hold on Halloween. I was in the living room the other day, and I saw a copy of The Advocate on the coffee table. The cover story was something about how Halloween was losing its special place as a gay holiday. I would have thought more about it at the time, but I was too busy wondering why b&c decided to subscribe to The Advocate. This is a person who makes fun of me because I'm not willing to sit through Wagner operas, and he's reading The Advocate? I can only hope that he got a free subscription when he bought some sex toys, but I haven't seen the sex toys yet. I didn't read the article, of course: I couldn't be bothered to wade through "Yet More Interviews with Straight Actors Who Play Gay Men" and the viatical settlement ads.)
I'd like to go on record as saying that I think it's really too bad that earth-based, polytheistic religions have largely disappeared from the planet, but disappeared they have. I find modern day Wiccans and practitioners of other attempts at paganism well meaning but largely insufferable. The sad fact is that history favors the literate (and the victors), so there isn't much in the way of reliable documentation of pagan practices and rituals. Trying to take what you think was the philosophical core of paganism and align it with contemporary humanism always just makes you look silly.
I can't help but believe that most pagan religions were far sexier and more violent than what neo-pagans are coming up with, and I wouldn't mind hanging out with people who practiced, say, more authentic fertility rituals. If you want to celebrate the summer solstice, for example, by binding ten bottoms to poles and having the avatar of the sun god ravish them from dusk to dawn, then by all means: call me Ra.
Anyway. Halloween may not do much for me, but I do love this time of the year. The air is crisp, and it's a pleasure to be outside. Also, it's cold enough for cuddling under a comforter with your man, so it's a pleasure to be inside. There's been a fair amount of each lately. (Plus an amusing threeway last night, but I'll put that in another entry: I know how little my readers care about sex.)
Last Saturday, b&c and I went walking for a while in the woods. It was a perfect day: clear and cool with low humidity. We headed over to Lake Needwood and went for about four miles. I think I have b&c fairly well trained: if I engage him in about fifteen minutes of semi-intelligent conversation, he'll shut up for the rest of the time and let me enjoy my surroundings in silence.
Towards the end of the walk, I heard and then saw a woodpecker. I couldn't get close enough to get a good picture, but if you look carefully, you can see it on the underside of the fallen tree. It is not visually fabulous, but it knocked convincingly on wood. B&c started to tell me that he'd read an article about how the leaf color wasn't as good as in prior years, but I was already past my semi-intelligent conversation quota, so I didn't pay attention. I have learned to murmur "hmmm" convincingly at appropriate intervals. The leaves themselves were a bit on the drab side, but there were plenty of other sources of color.
This past weekend was also pretty great, after the rain stopped. Here's a picture of the pumpkin patch where YFU and I went to get our carving pumpkins. I think ours were each about twelve pounds. When we got them home, we were each going to carve one, but YFU pretty much picked out a design and had me carve it for her. She did, however, scoop the seeds and pulp out of her pumpkin like a champ.
Word to the wise: it's fun to wash and then roast pumpkin seeds, but remember that they're very high in fiber. If you eat an entire pumpkin's worth at one sitting, expect to be forcibly reminded the next day. I'm guessing the pagans knew that.