Moths on Halloween and Old Souls

A moth flew throught the kitchen in the predawn grey of the early morning hours here. I thought it was going for the candle that burned all night on the marble table under Saint Frances and the wolf–a wood carving from Mexico. But no, it was going for the nightlight.

Times change, even for the moths.

Halloween and All Saints, what do you do at this time of year? How is it different from what you did with your family years ago?

Halloween was frightening where I grew up, with wild open spaces, the voices of owls and wild dogs no unusual sound there nights. Stories of a wild man on the hill who had abandoned his house and lived naked in the forests ran through young minds. Rotten pumpkins, tomato and eggs were abundant from the farms and backyard gardens, and young people hurled them at unsuspecting cars or sleepy old barns in the dark. The day after was always clean up and marvel at the horrible smell and overall destruction unleashed in the night. Trick or treating was not encouraged. And in my childhood home, it was not allowed.

Much later, the Haunted Walk on the sprawling grounds of that beautiful public treasure, the Bronx Botanical Garden in NYC, was a delight for many years for me. Children were fascinated by the sculptures hanging from the trees and the masked performers dressed as demons but reciting Shakespeare or enacting short plays.

These days I’m thinking of the stories from long ago, of the migration of souls from the other world to ours for a night, and what that might mean. Would my mother, father, grandmothers all loved but long gone from my waking life reappear in these next few days or hours?

And this was going through my mind this morning when the moth flitted into the kitchen of my Brooklyn apartment in the wee dark hours just before dawn. It seemed possible in that fleeting moment when I first saw the flutter of her wings, that an old soul was visiting me. Who was she?

Do you have a story to share about this time of year? What are your traditions?

Please leave a comment to share views with readers. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

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