Kage Baker always looked on Fridays as evaluation days. As the putative end of the work week – which mattered a lot more to her than anyone’s Sabbath – she regarded them as sort of general quality control days. She’d meditate on the week that was, and decide if it needed to be celebrated, endured, cured, loftily ignored or run away from while screaming.
Some Fridays, we went home from work just to pack a parrot and 2 overnight bags, and light out for the Territories. Kage would put on the Eagles’ “Voyage of the Sorcerer”, in a mix tape she had made that had, like every version of it she had ever found, and we’d head for the closest border as fast as we could go.
Today is another Friday. It’s got many good things going for it. Spring is here in Los Angeles, the air smells of roses and barbecues and mock orange blossoms, baby animals are everywhere and none of the skunk toddlers have sprayed the dog yet. It’s warm and sweet here. We have seasonal See’s chocolate novelties waiting in the wings for their cue. There’s a hummingbird nest outside the kitchen window, and roses are blooming in the yard.
However, turning on the television or checking the news in any medium at all reveals that the world is raving, bleeding, smoking, burning insane. This is a hell of a lot of weight on the bad side of the scales, and I think I can hear the hinge creaking.
, Now, Kage was a Christian. Being also an historian and a writer, she cherished the various pretty myths and fairy tales that accrued to Christianity over the millennia – and please, don’t be offended, but there are a lot of simply pretty stories that have nothing to do with the theological core and canon. A lot of them have to do with Easter; which is only logical when you consider that the sacrifice of the Incarnate God is the ultimate point of the entire religion …
Kage especially liked the story of the kallikantzaroi. They are satyr-like Greek demi-urges (or something) that spend the 10 days of the Easter Season sawing through the trunk of the World Tree – the intent being to end the world, of course. But at the last minute, they are always chased away by the sound of the Easter bells (“Ring-a-ding, the bells, gnash gnash, the teeth, clackety-clack the hooves, etcetera.”)* For some reason, this scenario charmed her, and she would toast the kallikantzaroi and their doomed endeavours, in sweet white wine every Easter morning.
We spent a lot of Easter mornings waking up on Faire sites; usually in tents, as Easter often fell on a rehearsal weekend. Chocolate, painted eggs, baby animals, lots of people in robes with flowers in their hair, lots and LOTS of sweet wines – a good place to spend Easter morning, whatever your inclinations. It’s easy to believe in gods and goddesses and Spring, when you wake up in a tent in an oak grove with the sun rising, and small children giggling as they hunt woad-blue eggs outside your translucent walls.
But not this year. Not this Friday. The world is in a dreadful state at the moment, and my personal urge is to fail this past week with a big red F. And then go running for the hills, or the coast, or someplace green and fragrant where they meet; with my parrot and my chocolate beside me.
However, I’ll probably stay. My family is cooking a nice ham, and there are jelly eggs with nonpareils on ’em stashed away. Also a chocolate bunny with my name on it. And though I am not a Christian, it’s IS Spring. It’s an older holiday, but all the more worth celebrating for that. Flowers, and baby animals and all. You know.
Still … the kallikantzaroi must be working on overtime by now.
I’m going to worry about that World Tree until the sun comes up on Sunday.
* From This Immortal, Roger Zelazny