How magical is a tiny lit candle within the bowl of a carved out squash? Who thought of this strange and beautiful custom? And what a blessed tradition to send your children to your neighbors' houses and strangers' houses and to receive welcome visits from theirs in return.
"Trick or Treat! Happy Halloween! Thank you! Thank you!"
And how breath-taking the colors of the trees are at this moment. We cull old trinkets out of the neglected toy box, pile them in a bowl for the smallest trick-or-treaters and they respond with wonder. A knee-high toddler in a puppy suit can hardly believe the plastic jaguar I hand him with his M&Ms.
My fourteen year old is wearing my clothes now and the younger sister is only a growth spurt away from resembling her. I check Nora's splayed fingers against my own and breathe a temporary sigh -- her fingertips have not yet reached mine and I can still occasionally takes hers in mine as we walk together, like we did last night down Clark Street after the Cubs win, buoyed by the win despite the late hour. Another child had reached for my hand this week at Nora's sixth grade drama class show as the crowd of parents entered the auditorium. I was talking with his mother about the Booker Prize and he lifted his arm without looking to grab the hand of the tall figure he thought was his mom. I clasped his warm palm with gratitude and told his mother that I had done the same thing when I was a child in a grocery store and how strange, how wondrous, the woman had been wearing a red coat, like I thought my mother was and like I was on this day.
Only a few breaths left of this night, of this season of beauty and change, of this childhood that Nora is shedding and Mia is preserving on the one night a year she can join the tiny ones and dress up in play costume and ask for candy, please and thank you.