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Dearest Betsy, Today is Samhain, the day exactly one year ago on 01 November 2004 that you departed. According to the Celts, Samhain is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort. As Alice remarked in Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky," They seem to mean something, but it's hard to pin down just what. Nevertheless, I have embarked on one of my "Brown Studies" (as you called them) to learn all I can of the ancient mysteries - especially those pertaining to the afterlife. This has proven to be a mighty undertaking and will take a while. Like a man walking alone in the dark, I resolved to go so slowly, and use so much circumspection in all matters, as to be secured against falling, even if I made very little progress. RenĂŠ Descartes, Discourse on the Method of Rightly Directing One's Reason, and of Seeking Truth in Sciences, Part II (1637)

The ancient Egyptians believed that after death they would attain eternal life as a spirit. The newly revivified spirit was thought to live not in some distant paradise but in the world it had known during life, though on a higher plane of existence. Their survivors could feel that their deceased loved ones were still in their midst. If this is so, then you can hear me speaking to you as I do often. Your doves and other birds are doing well. Here's one of them posing rather ethereally, just for you:

It's been mighty lonesome since you've been gone. I miss you sorely, as do Blue and Ruby. Although it has been a whole year now, we have not yet come to terms with you not being here. Things here are pretty much as you left them. Other than fruitlessly looking for a will or some kind of instructions, I haven't disturbed much of your stuff yet. Hoping...

A Parable of Immortality by Henry Van Dyke I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and the sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone says, "There she goes!" Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There she goes" there are other eyes watching her coming and their voices ready to take up the glad shouts, "Here she comes!" It must be significant that there is a new moon tonight. I look forward to when I can understand these things. Your loving husband, with a heavy heart, Jess

Bayou Packet #36  
Bayou Packet #36