Well, the Autumnal Equinox is here. The balancing point of night and day comes with a whisper of Indian Summer heat, but soon the downward slope will claim our momentum. I love this season, with its cool winds and colored leaves. I don't mind the darkness. It makes me feel more alive.
But lately, I'm also starting to feel my mortality. This year was full of health concerns, not just for me but also my friends. I turned 62. My friends are generally part of my generation. Almost every one has had procedures, scares, risks...honestly, who expected this when we were in University? Hiking through the campus, walking downtown, caving with friends, who knew I'd be round, crippled, and nearly house bound 40 years later? Plus, there are shadows looming overhead, hinting of more troubles to come.
So, in thinking over my history and how it intertwined with others, I decided that I would reach out to several individuals who left my life abruptly, and in a hurting manner. There was never a true parting, never an explanation, never a "Hail and Farewell".
There are one or two that I no longer cared about, but I had several others in mind. I would find them, write them about how their actions wounded me, and then...let it go. I felt I needed this closure, and didn't want to take it to the grave no matter when I died. I no longer wanted these old injuries. Time to speak out, and be done.
The first one was simple. I knew where she was. She was my oldest friend, and had lots of talent and potential. However, she had a way of making me feel small and unworthy. I would ask her to go somewhere for fun. She would say, "OK - unless something better comes along." I give her points for honesty..and deduct them for being cruel. She told me, when we were adults, that when we were children, I would go walking through the neighborhood trying to find her, and she would hide with the neighborhood bully, mocking me. Once, she even left me down a train embankment. I had weak legs and couldn't climb back out. She went home to dinner. I was stuck for hours.
She wanted to be a singer, but never put herself out there. She got drunk, she got high, and eventually spent time in a mental health facility. She was widowed, and inherited money. When it was gone, she moved South to live with her retired parents. Last I heard, she joined a church.
She never remarried, never developed a career, or even held a job for long. So, there she sits in Mamas's house.
When I thought about it, I decided she didn't need a letter.
Another gal was a close college friend. She dropped out of my life because a mutual pal decided she no longer wished to be associated with me. Apparently, she felt I had pushed her into our coven's Eldership.
(And here I thought Wiccan students rebelled when you DIDN'T give them an Eldership!) So, our mutual friend decided to also cut ties. It was senseless, and painful. I wasn't forcing her to take sides.
It has been decades, but I eventually found her on a popular website. She had gone to University to be a writer.
When that didn't work out, she took more mundane employment, got downsized, and is now out there, somewhere, without a job. At 62, that's a rough row to hoe.
A younger, male student of mine was determined to be a country singer. He had the voice and the talent. He fell in love with a young woman who couldn't stand me. I'm not sure why. I'm no threat to anyone's claim on any man.
He left my group by hanging a bag of borrowed books on my door handle, along with a "Dear Jane" letter.
He called me about 7 years later because he thought we had "ended things badly", whatever that meant. He wanted to come see me.
"What about your wife? She won't like that."
"She will have no say in MY business."
I waited a few beats. "I'm not your business."
He set up a time to come visit. I knew he would cancel. He did.
I looked him up, and found him on Facebook. Three kids, a job with some kind of media agency, same wife...and a face I could barely recognize. No musical career. No hint of the activities he use to love. Hum.
Then there was the friend who had a job at a Space Agency. She was bullied out of it, then lost her home. I have no idea where she lives now, but she still has delusions of grandeur. While she was employed, she blew her own trumpet and made sure everyone knew that - whatever we accomplished - she had achieved more. Now, I see her picture from time to time popping up at certain conventions.
Finally, I found another old student. She left because she was angry I wouldn't tell her new boyfriend all about the Craft and our Tradition. I told her I simply couldn't; I took an oath. I didn't hear from her in years but -again - there she was on social media. She had two more children, lived with her mother until she died, and ended up homeless. Last I heard, she was sacking in at her daughter's place, trying to raise money on a "Go Fund Me" site.
I sat back.
I looked at this short string of lives. Lives that had intersected with mine. Lives that had learned from me, and then abandoned me. People that I trusted, and loved, and cherished. Looking over their stories, I realized that they had created lives that led to remarkably similar places. Almost all of them had homelessness issues, and had given up on their talents and dreams. Their callus way of treating me was probably one situation in a string of situations which brought them where they are. It wasn't necessarily me, personally, that caused their behavior. They probably used the same pattern when dealing with everyone.
I'm not happy that things turned out for them this way. Far from it. Maybe they are being taught wisdom by the Lords of Karma. Maybe I'M being shown a lesson by the Lords of Karma. The last thing these folks need from me is a "tell all" letter about how they made me cry. What they did to me are just memories; what has happened to them all is real and present.
It's true, what they say: Never wish to exchange your troubles for those of another. I've been blessed. I have a great family. I have wonderful friends. I have food, a roof over my head, and I'm warm in Winter. I've always wanted to be a writer, and I am one. I always wanted to be a feature writer for Fate Magazine, and I am. I've always wanted to teach English (I have) and bring the existence of the Craft to the attention of educators and the serious public (which I continue to do). I've worked hard to accomplish these things, but not everyone is fortunate enough to succeed.
I have not done it alone. I have had the support, comfort, and love of those that I consider my family, and extended clan.
I'm sending energy out to these one-time friends. Samhain season can be harsh on those in need. May they all make it through to next Beltane with Strength and Hope.
I decided to end this blog with a wonderful parody by the Hindi sisters and Hillywood. They also did a marvelous "Hocus-Pocus" parody, and the best "Dr. Who" I've ever seen. Check them out on YouTube!
May the Autumnal find you happy, healthy, and full of life, Lay your burdens down, and dance in the crisp joys of Harvest. Samhain will be here soon enough!
Next time: More cemetery crawls!