Samhain                                       Waning Thanksgiving Moon

The Nick Caspers murder trial will not happen.  Nick decided to plead guilty to Felony A Murder, a charge that gives a chance at parole, as opposed to the Felony AA that he faced at trial.  That one carried life without parole.

As Woolly Paul Strickland said, we all have done things in our lives for which we were not brought to account, not so for Nick.  I share with Paul a hope that the judge will be merciful in his sentencing.  The extraordinary impact an event like a drunken fight in a small North Dakota town can have on individuals and families near and far makes me aware of the lives impacted by each person involved in our criminal justice system, victims and perpetrators alike.  On TV the criminal is often a bad person and the prosecution and the victims good people; in life, the shades of gray cover the just and the unjust.

Nick enters the darkest part of this long and unfinished journey in December.  There is, of course, the irony of his situation counterpoised to the holiday lights and Santa Claus and families gathered in churches singing Christmas carols.  Not so ironic, and perhaps more helpful, is the season seen from the perspective of the Great Wheel.  In December the earth reaches the point in its orbit, the Winter Solstice, when the darkness that has gathered strength ever since the Summer Solstice reaches its zenith on the longest night of the year.

The Great Wheel teaches us that the descent into darkness is never the whole story.  In fact, it shows us that even the darkest night bears within it the seeds of increasing light, an increasing light that will lead, in time, to a new growing season.  Owning the descent for what it is, a trip down into the underworld, but a descent that has a path leading back to the surface world, is a strong narrative for Nick and his next few weeks and months.

Mikki and Pete, Nick’s adoptive parents, Nick, Jim and all the South Dakota folks:  we’re with you as you make this journey.  You don’t have to go it alone.