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Walpurgisnacht

April 30, 2017

I was sure that I had written a Walpurgisnacht post here before, as I used to write them for the Subverbo email list, or at least send out an old one, every year that I thought to do it, which was several. But a Search found nothing, and I have no choice but to believe Search, as we all must now: pillar of civilization. Though it is more like Find, searching being exactly what has been eliminated. Yesterday I wanted a funnel to put oil in my car. I knew I had had one in a plastic bag, probably CVS, hanging on the coat-rack by my front door, but I had moved it for the sake of respectability and I didn’t remember where to. So I went around looking for it. Now that, that is a search. The kind of thing that made this country great and that the youths today have no idea how to do. I found it in my bedroom, just inside the door. But not right away, I searched first. It wasn’t over in a millisecond, it was a whole way of being unto itself, unpleasant and character-building, lasting at least five minutes. The funnel was hiding from me and I had to hunt it down like a wild beast, so I could assert my dominance over it and bend it to my will. It wasn’t just going to be handed to me by some magical invisible engine. And if I had not found the funnel, I was prepared to use my own two hands to make a funnel out of aluminum foil. I do believe I could have even done it with just one hand. One step beyond searching is creating. If Man is truly made in the image of God, then God probably spent some time searching around for a world to Lord over, before finally shrugging His shoulders and just making one Himself. But isn’t creating just searching taken to another level, looking beyond the actual to the possible? Are not our creations more glorious as searchings than as accomplishments? Might not the same sentiment be applied to Creation? Finality is death. Completion, disappointment. A living God, like a living man, is an endless seeker.

Such an ontology, even without the theology, might help us appreciate Walpurgisnacht more wisely. Because however much you talk it up — and I have tried — you never seem to make it to the party. And you might not really want to. “Witches’ Night” — probably more like a trade convention than an actual good time. Where witches go to network. The demons, they are just middle-managers from hell. Even if there is an orgy, it’s going to be a German orgy. No, God save us from that scene.

But to the ever-searching imagination, what a delight it is. Cozy in your bed, with a late-April chill seeping through an open window, how nice to think of witches on a mountaintop, dancing in the moonlight, frightening and seductive and unbound by the already-known. And maybe tomorrow one will curse your enemy, curdle his milk, ruin his crops, and afflict him with a nasty catarrh.

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