"She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening."Autumnal winds reach out from the coming season of bonfire and masks. I have walked through spring's deceptions and summer's calumny, and now face the change to the season of offerings, to the dead and the not-dead, and pledging to speak to those who have passed from autumn's glory past, to autumn's crisp return.
--from The Lady of the Haunted House, by Angela Carter
We are fragile creatures, ever. We will some day die, fade, be replaced. We are none of us eternal. Never.
That's not the point.
I am still slowly, so slowly, rebuilding my matrix. There have been changes; these are generally expected, for change always comes with rebuilding. I am more wary, now, and less prone to laughter, more prone to flinching away. Even my intimates have noticed. I am not the person I was.
What I have left to discover is if I can understand and accept the person I am becoming.
I ponder again, unasked, unbidden. I have stranded out silk enough to cobweb skyscrapers; I have threaded enough to sew quilts to cover bridges spanning the widest crevasse; doled out enough rope to string hammocks and swings between all the pinnacled towers of modernity. All for that one.
I have tried not to enshrine any new behavior, to observe only and move on, for I know foundation is more important than façade. It must be. And it must be solid and steadfast, laid slow, built upon slow. No rushing this time. This is not a patch job, this is pouring a new base, and smoothing it flat.
Second chances become third chances, and fourth, and fifth. Enough to fill the Laurentian Abyss, and more. And yet, there is always the push. The angle. The search for that loophole in every restriction. I grow weary waiting for each coming attempt.
This much I know: I am the biggest obstacle in my path. And if I am to learn, to grow, to invent and create, I must involve myself in what I do, work from the heart and not the mind. Both are needed; but again, I must do the deep work and do it with my heart open. It is hard, the skin is still so tender, I can be easily hurt--but perhaps that's part of the process, too.
I am very nearly at the point where I must simply ask: what is the correct option? If there is too much restriction, what would encourage comfort? If there are too many rules, then what would encourage good behavior?
I see endings ahead but that is the way of the bone season. This is decay and must, this is mold and unraveling. This is the collapse into the slow, steady chill, when the heart stops and the flesh sleeps. Before refuge is found, once more, this is that moment where one knows refuge is needed, and begins the search. This is the moment when all things that are not necessary are scraped away, burnt away, frozen away. Skin flays, muscles shrivel, organs rot.
This is the collapse of the organic, into component parts, so that after life stops--or subdues--life can continue elsewhere, in the smaller creatures that each carry a bit of warmth away from those who fell. This is the moment of wood and ash, crackling flames, the sweetness of the final harvest. This is the place before the embracing stillness of winter; the moment before the deep freeze sets in.
Can I even ask these questions? Or will asking be the pin pulled from the machinations of the inevitable? Will anything prevent disaster, at this point?
This is fall, called so for more than one reason, and it is the time to step from safe spaces and see if there are any horrors left in the dark.
Because, willing or no, autumn comes. Willing or no, I must face them.
Because it's time.