But still he dances and still we all dance because, well, then we can drink beer afterwards. Or, on Halloween, eat chili.
We always dance on Halloween in the Groveland neighborhood of Saint Paul where the residents of an entire street throw themselves wholeheartedly into the holiday. They decorate their homes with elaborate stage sets and trick-or-treaters from far and wide come by all evening long. The street is blocked to traffic, and we dance beneath a streetlight to one of our more appreciative audiences. Some years the weather cooperates, and some years there is slushy wet snow. But still we dance because we know that at the other end of the evening there will be beer. And chili. And warmth.
Guy Fawkes day falls less than a week after Halloween, so we head down to Paul and Darcy's home in Burnsville, for a celebration that I described last year. As we watched the guy burn up in flames I considered that we don't have enough bonfire rituals in this country. There is something glorious and inspiring about the conflagration. The Houses of Parliament are saved again. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.
And now today I'm dancing in the dark in my own apartment, or, more accurately, tripping. Turning on my television yesterday morning to see what horrible news had befallen us during the night caused the electricity to go out through most of the place. I was unable to fix this with any manipulation of the circuit breakers. There was nothing I could do until the evening when my landlord returned from work (I did not have a way to contact him, unfortunately), so while it was still daylight I pulled out my lanterns and flashlights and placed them where I could grope for them.
There was nothing my landlord could do either without the help of a professional electrician, as it turns out, but fortunately the circuitry of my place is even more bizarrely arranged than I had thought. My refrigerator and stove are still running, as are random wall sconces. The bathroom and inner hallway are black as pitch, I can't see a thing in my closets, and of course I have no television or stereo or electric alarm clock, but I have a spot where I can read and while there is not enough light to cook by I am not exactly camping out. Perhaps the landlord was able to arrange for an electrician to come by today, perhaps not, but I'm finding it relaxing to have only one small properly-lit area in the whole place. It forces me to sit still. It forces me to cooperate with the rhythms of the season, the season of darkness.