Mount of Olives panorama

Mount of Olives panorama
A panoramic view of the Mount of Olives

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall means . . . Halloween?

Well, we are at last getting close to autumn - Israel style.  When I went out for my morning run two days ago, for the first time it felt really cool, almost cold.  The sun has still been warm, but the temperatures have been comfortable with breezes.

We had one of our first rains a week or so ago, but yesterday later in the afternoon it got downright misty, and this is when I went outside for my break at the time of the early evening prayers: 

If we were home right now, autumn weather and October would mean Halloween, one of Elaine's and the children's favorite holidays.  I have always had ambivalent feelings about that holiday, accepting that it is mostly about fun and candy today but not really liking its antecedents and its associations, well, you know, with witches, demons, ghosts, ghouls, and the like.

There reason I mention that is because despite my protestations about Halloween's origins and potentially darker side, I have always enjoyed decorating for it.  Corn stalks, hay bales, gourds, squash, and of course pumpkins always adorn our front porch, but I have always joked that I was just decorating for the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.

Well, we had just finished celebrating the actual festival of Sukkot this week, so Elaine had the idea of using some of the lights from our sukkah to decorate the door of our apartment, and Rachel helped Samuel make and color all kinds of decorations.  They had fun watching Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and other such videos while they worked.  Here was the is the result:

Samuel was so excited about our "spooky door" that he told us he wanted us to put a sign down the corridor, where our hall meets the main center, inviting people to come down and see it.

This made me realize how important it is that we have fun with holidays, not just the local ones, but our own, accustomed holidays.  Samuel has adjusted quite well to being here.  But for the first time in the almost two months since we arrived, he has started to talk frequently about home.  Elaine thinks that when he says, "I am really going to miss Christmas at our home in Utah," it is not just his projecting forward, it is also his way of expressing his overall homesickness.  The other day, in fact, he asked Elaine, "Why do we need to be here in Jerusalem."  Her response was that Dad really loves Jesus and wants to live for a while where Jesus lived."

That was a good way of expressing it, but of course it is also work, and it is also a trip for the whole family.  But this has made it clear to me that a little boy struggling with autism has given up more than any of us to be here.

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