Death doesn't really take a holiday.
We hear stories, from friends, relatives, sometimes in the newspaper, about a dying person who manages to 'hang on' until some important date, to celebrate Christmas with their family, for example, then dies. Does this really happen?
Young speculates that the myth springs from selective memory. Stories about loved ones who "held on" until after the holidays are more memorable than those about the uncle who slipped away in mid-November.
Selective memory, and the desire for romance. Romance in the large sense: the desire for life here on earth to be colored by mystery and magic, for the indomitable human will to triumph over physical adversity, over disease, to do what science and medicine cannot.
Selective memory and the desire for romance cause a lot of mischief. These things probably account for the belief that full moons are associated with madness and crime. They aren't—many studies have shown that—but the belief lingers on. The folks whose chronic diseases are "cured" by televangelists, or saints' relics, or homeopathic medicines are probably examples of the same phenomenon. The occasional person whose disease improves is remembered, because it is astonishing and gratifying. The thousands who go on pretty much as they were before are forgotten. Because we want to believe. We want so badly to believe.
The natural world is a wonderful place, full of beauty, pattern, and scientific mysteries. I would like there to be otherworldly mystery, too, a mystic dimension to existence, a place for that indomitable human will, for the bones of the saints to work wonders, for Las Vegas to have its own genii, ghosts, and vampires, for the planets to be steered by C.S. Lewis's helmsman angels of the spheres.
Sorry, Virginia. It just ain't so.
== yuubinkyoku == (noun) post office
|Right radical is 'village'. Left radical is 'dangle/hang down' (垂), which acts phonetically to express 'billowing flag'. The flag in this case indicates a flag on a relay station on a messenger route. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Mail in village left dangling.'|