The turning of the year, "three nights of the end of summer," the time of honoring the dead. Some gather photographs, heirlooms, tamales and posole with chili pods the color of old garnets, for ancestor altars and feasts. Some spend much of the day at Wagner's Parsifal, remembering the Arthurian knight who quested for the Holy Grail. Some decimate trees, instead of contemplating and embracing the sacred in nature, that essential part of life.
I spend the last day of October sick in bed with a sore throat, eating only delicious Italian wedding soup. I don't know what to gather for my altar—a dictionary, a starfish, a wooden bowl, a piece of huckleberry pie, and many candles like the candles on the mantlepiece my mother always lit in winter, Christmas Eve, the nights of snow departing dinner guests would go out into, stomping boots and laughing. A chunk of turquoise (veined like loved grandparents' hands), orange pekoe tea, a plastic honey bear. Water and salt, they say, incense. Blue flowers, a Robert Frost poem, a Hawaiian record given to us by a family friend. One leaf, for all of the dead trees.
image: Ofrenda del día de muertos, Brendahdz