Sunday, 11 November 2012


In the countryside here, Halloween was the day to remember the dead, as the days grew dark again and the land grew gray and stark. It always felt appropriate to me, then, that it was so close to Remembrance Day -- Veterans Day in the USA -- when we remember the fallen. I also like that this day does not signify the triumphant nationalism I saw in my own country, but mourning for a tragedy.

Such rituals are not popular in our culture anymore. In the strange culture of the energy window, death is no longer the constant presence it was for our ancestors, so we have hidden it as we once hid sex, but behind veils less attractive than courtship. This age of inhuman speed and unlimited promise has removed our sense of passage, the sense that our uncommon lives are flowing to their common destination. Millions of us who grew up in this age, I think, will find themselves at the end, their busyness for nothing, wondering what happened to their lives, and unprepared for what happens next.

1 comment:

Andy Brown said...

There's a reason that immortality is so rare among living things. Sex and death and imperfect inheritance - the reshuffling of the genetic deck, the room that death creates for the next generation's testing - those are all the crucial bases of survival and adaptation over the long haul. America's attitude toward death and change is just one more way that my society seems singularly lacking in wisdom.

The autumn storms here have thrown down a lot of oaks. The next few years should be good for blueberries.