The season of Kali.Posted: September 4, 2012
When I was in grad school, and came home to Pennsylvania for visits, I noticed that Dad always had a surplus of garden vegetables he’d keep out in the laundry room until they started rotting. I’d see them and say, “Daaaad why do you keep these?”—as if it were a personal affront to me. But it turned out his actions were deliberate, or at least, not un-deliberate. He answered, sort of sheepish, “I like to see what happens to them.”
And so, of course, I find myself doing the same thing now. I have an “accidental compost” going on in the flower bed on my balcony. Which is to say, I leave the remains of fruit there, and see what happens to them. In the picture above are the remains of grapes, watermelons, cherries, peaches, bananas, mangoes, and limes. I leave them there like offerings and then visit them, later, to see what they’ve turned into. They might be beautiful. They might be crawling with maggots. I never can tell.
My sisters and I call September the “season of Kali.” (Background here.) For me it’s always been the most uncomfortable transition—summer to fall—because I always feel like I’m leaving my native ground, my birth season, against my will. The gypsy moth webs start appearing, and everyone goes back to school, and everything is ending and beginning, rotting and blooming.
This time around, busy as I am with novel-writing, play-rehearsing, edit-jobbing, travel-planning, and love-exploring, it’s still actually milder than most. (Or maybe I’m just getting much better at weathering change, in which case, praise fucking be.) But I will still pull a Kali whenever I feel overwhelmed. Here’s the original, below, from September 2009. Happy transitioning, everyone!