Halloween in Ashland

Halloween.

Time to party…

All Hallows’ Evening.

Time to get out…

All Hallows’ Eve.

When strange things walk the streeets…

The night preceding All Saints Day….a day normally consecrated to the Saints….as well as to those who aspire to being Saint-like —

An ancient pre-Christian ‘pagan’ Druidic festival honoring the Harvest…

And the Dead. Los Muertos…

And the restless Spirits that walk the Earth.

A celebration of joyous madness and craziness

Where masks and disguises liberate us from the bonds of everyday responsibilities.

Friedrich Nietzche says “All great things must first wear terrifying and monstrous masks in order to inscribe themselves on the hearts of humanity.”

William Goldman, in his script of the movie “The Princess Bride”, writes: “You be careful. People in masks cannot be trusted.”

Arthur Schopenhauer tells us, “The closing years of life are like a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped.”

James Baldwin says, ““Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without.”

The poet Stephen Dunn says, “I reveal myself. One mask at a time.”

And, speaking of masks, Jim Morrison counsels: ”The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are.”

Masks. Disguises.  Madness in the street.

An opportunity to, in the words of Charles Baudelaire, free ourselves from the horrid burdens of time which bruise us and grind us down into the earth.

To allow ourselves to become inebriated….

and to revel…

in the company of others like us…

and the sounds…

and the sights…

of a celebration…

older than time…

older than the ways of our mortal society…

and outside of the normal constraints….

….HALLOWEEN!

And, here in my former adopted home town of Ashland, Oregon – home, among other things, to the actors, thespians, writers and directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival – Halloween isn’t just a word or a concept or a wikipedia article or a 140-character Tweet

It’s a living

breathing

joyous

unpredictable

organic organism

A time to come

A time to go

A time to open your eyes

And your ears, your mouth, all your senses….

A time to look around you

A time to be with friends

And family….

A time to allow yourself get drunk as Baudelaire suggests – enivrez-vous sans cesse!¡emborrachate! – with the music, with the rhythms, with your feet and (YES) with your tail!

And above all a time to take a chance.

To take a breath.

And let the cards fall where they will.

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