Thursday, October 30, 2008


Our neighborhood had Trick-or-Treating on October 25th from 1-5 in the afternoon. I took the kids out in their costumes and enjoyed watching my wee one really get into the spirit of begging for candy. At the same time, my insides were turning over.

Who ever heard of Trick-or-Treating in the middle of day under blue sparkling skies? I understand that our neighborhood wants to consider the safety of the children—and I appreciate that. But why do we have to suck the fun out of childhood? Isn’t the point of Halloween to get scared? Even if it’s just a little bit?

My son and I were watching “The Great Pumpkin”—the classic Halloween special starring the Peanuts gang. We laughed at Snoopy’s dancing and antics. We giggled when Charlie Brown kept getting rocks while the others got piles of candy. But while we watched, I could only focus on one thing. There is something so beautiful about the night sky in that cartoon. It is mysterious and deep and beyond our imagination. Its darkness sends lovely little chills up my spine.

Halloween is the one night of the year when it’s acceptable to skulk about in the darkness. There is something thrilling about becoming someone or something else and lurking in the shadows—even though you know your parents are right there behind you, and your friends are at your side, and no one is really scared by your costume. The feeling of becoming part of the vast darkness is freeing and chilling.

I am saddened by the fact that my kids won’t get to experience the Halloween I remember. It seems like childhood is so structured and controlled now—with organized activities and playgroups instead of pick-up games of kick the can in the backyards. I would love to give my kids the gifts of spontaneity and adventure.

Maybe this Halloween, when all the other neighborhood kids are safe in their beds, I’ll take my kids out and do a little skulking in the dark.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Carpe Diem!

Welcome to my blog. I’ve never been very good at first paragraphs, so I thought I’d jump right in.

Dead Poet’s Society has always been one of my favorite movies—every time I see it I’m inspired all over again. Something about the boys, with all their youth and impressionability, running through the dark forest in those blue woolen coats to read poetry tickles my adventurous side. Every scene makes me want to Yawp! or to cry out at the injustice of having to live out someone else’s dreams. But the scene that simultaneously haunts and inspires me the most is when Robin Williams takes the boys to the lobby of their prestigious school to visit the past. They stare at the black and white faces of their predecessors listening to their teacher rant, and then, as they lean in closer to listen to the past, Williams’ voice begins to hiss “Carpe….Carpe…. Carpe Diem! Seize the day boys! Make your lives extraordinary!”

Ok, dry your tears.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves not to get caught up in the bitter mundane details of life. “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may!” Every day is a gift. Every moment is precious! Instead of living an average life, think about what you can do to make your life extraordinary. I’m not telling you to quit your job and backpack across Europe—because that is not always practical. What I’m trying to say is appreciate every moment that you are blessed with. Is there something you’ve been putting off? Writing that first novel? Running a marathon? Reading War and Peace? Or even volunteering at the local food bank? Do it! And while you’re doing it, enjoy every moment. You’ll change your life and the lives of those around you.

by Robert Herrick

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying :
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer ;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may go marry :
For having lost but once your prime
You may for ever tarry.

Seize the day boys! Make your lives extraordinary!