Thursday, November 7, 2019

Day of the Dad

It is said that in November the veil between the world of the living and that of the dead grows thin. In Mexico, November 2nd is the Day of the Dead, a festive celebration to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. I admire this tradition, as the taboo of death in American culture makes loss and grief more isolating.

I'm not especially religious, nor do I subscribe to any woo-woo philosophies. Despite efforts to embrace both of those idea sets at different times in my life, my thinking remains pretty firmly evidence-based. That said, no one can say for sure if there is or isn't a next life, and it can be a comfort to think there might be; that out loved ones are not lost to us forever.

My Dad passed on January 1st, 2001, a single day into the new millennium, by some accounting. If time is a dimension, like spatial dimensions, in a way he is not gone, like a person who is spatially out of sight is not gone. Anyway, sometimes I want to talk to him. I can do that anywhere, I suppose; if there is a next world it's unlikely our spirits would be tied to the resting place of our physical bones. Nevertheless, sometimes I go to the Scarborough Marsh, where we scattered his ashes, to visit. I stand on the footbridge and talk. The first few times I felt silly, but it comes more naturally to me now.
I visit a few times a year, kind of randomly; a couple years ago, I did because we were having a solar eclipse, and my dad was blessed with a great intellectual curiosity, and I deeply wished he were there to see it with me. 
It's a beautiful place, never more so than on a sunny day in late autumn, when the colors are gold an
bronze vibrating against the blue sky and water. It's accessible via the old Eastern Road, now a bike/walking trail with entry points at Black Point Road and at Pine Point Road, among several others (it's a pretty long trail, nearly 30 miles from South Portland to Kennebunk.) It's a flat, easy trail - easy to walk or jog, and you can ride a street bike on it, and it takes you through some of the most beautiful landscape in Southern Maine.
Don't let your outdoor activities end in September! Late fall landscapes have an austere beauty all their own, and cooler temps are quite conducive to delightful hikes.