October’s light is pale, always half-sunset even with the clearest sky. Aine’s light dazzles but does not warm.
It is time for the culling.
Yes, I take the last harvest and compost most of the deck plants, and bring my potted herbs inside, protected by the predicted bite of frost. I offer prayers as I compost the rest, prayers as I turn the soil in my garden, prayers in the season of death.
Waning sun and waning moon.
Our eldest cat, Mr. Spock, waned with the season: the blood harvest, the harvesting of all those who cannot last the winter. He, at 17, had finally stopped eating anything except treats. He spent his last week choosing the company of 9-year-old Schnoogie, whom he raised from kittenhood, in her part of the house. I love you, but she needs me more, he blinked with his green-gold eyes. I accepted.
He knew his life’s thread had reached the final knot, and we knew too. The night before he died, he led Schnoogie from her lower-level apartment to the rest of the house. This is yours, too. Don’t forget it.
The next day, the vet gave the expected prognosis. As we held him, waiting, I saw Brighid step to the door with a gentle smile. Her head brushed the ceiling. She smiled gently, with folded hands — waiting, much as I had seen her when I brought my friend’s cat to the vet this summer to be euthanized.
All three of us — the vet included, since she loved Mr. Spock dearly herself — crowded around him as the anesthetic went in. He leaped into Brighid’s arms. With her free arm, she gently touched our heads as spirit-Spock rubbed against us and then returned with her to the Otherworld.
And here I am, culling the waning green in death’s season, dancing on the claw-edge of a cat’s grief and my own.
I don’t want rituals or music, right now. I don’t want distraction. This sad honoring feels right in its way.
Happy travels, Mr. Spock. We’ll see you again in the Otherworld.