It’s Halloween, known in Christianity as All Hallows Eve, but more anciently to Celts in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man as Samhain, or “summer’s end.”
I like the summer’s end appellation because it fits what is happening here in Paradise. This past week Dennis has put almost all of the garden to bed for the winter. He hauled four truckloads of horse manure and spread it in areas that haven’t been recently enriched.
He has moved the raspberries to an area outside the garden fence, moved strawberries to a new patch, and covered the strawberries and rhubarb with a layer of protective straw. Just a handful of things are still growing – marigolds, peppers, turnips, and parsley. The pepper plants, lucky to have survived this long without a killing frost, are still loaded with ripening peppers.
And, nestled in the parsley are two black swallowtail butterfly larva. They had better hurry to their cocoon stage, for a frost cannot be far away.
One of the traditions of Sanhain was leaving food and drink outside for the Aos Si, spirits or fairies, who visited on this night when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thinned. This tradition has most likely led to our modern tradition of trick or treating, when children dress in costumes and go door to door seeking candy.
I’m sorry we can’t participate in this tradition because all of the children in our rural neighborhood have grown up and moved on to their own lives. There’s no one here now but middle-aged and old people, no one to come knocking at the door when night falls, crying “Trick or Treat!”
Copyright 2016 by Shirley Domer