As a young child, I lived in a German village and at Martinmas (which isn't until 11th November) I walked around with the children from my Kindergarten carrying a moon-faced lantern that was lit from within by a candle. We sang, Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond und Sterne. The first time I did this I hadn't been in Germany very long, so this may have been the first song I learned. My mother was walking and singing beside me. The longer and darker the nights became, the more the candles were lit. I have never dreaded winter and the dark months. When my own children were little, I walked around with nightlights in painted jars and hollowed-out turnips singing, the light shines bright all through the night, la bimma la bimma la bim. It's something to carry with you, the image of light in darkness, for when other kinds of darkness come - the kind that is harder to identify.
I have challenges at the moment: some of those are good, necessary or adventurous ones; there are several poetry cafes coming up, writing to do - and I have decided to be brave and take new steps to see if I can bring about a radical change in my health. I fear failure but I will "do it anyway" on the basis that you only ever really regret what you don't do. Some of the challenges, though, I could do without; they are the kind that take light from you, and strength. It's ok, I've done it before, the lantern walk. When you are out in the open with the elements threatening to snuff out the flame you do what you can to shield it, and then you go back inside singing, the light grows dim as we go in, la bimma la bimma la bim. So that's what I'm doing for a space; withdrawing and keeping the flame safe and lit. It's Hallowe'en soon. I'll be lighting one for you all - and spooking around. (Obviously).