“Suddenly the day was gone,
night came out from under each tree and spread.” Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree
A month of urgency: the tipping from fall into winter. The waxing of a moon. The chilling of air.
I peer through a mental View Master at the vivid memories of Alaskan Halloweens: frosted in snow, filled with shadows and whispers and parkas worn under costumes.
I find myself drifting just the way I drifted in third grade, eyes drawn inexorably to the window, with its hint of freedom, of mystery, and a vista of the few scraggly spruces huddled on the playground – forest ghosts wedged between tether ball and monkey bars.
Such daydreams generated: mental blueprints for forts, stories about bedraggled lost children and shipwrecked families, UFO sightings, and observations about fellow students and teachers. Once home, surrounded by paperback books and piles of Halloween candy, I tried to recreate those ideas on the snowy pages of a notebook.
“The true art of memory is the art of attention.” Samuel Johnson
“Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.” Ichabod Crane in the film adaptation of Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hallow: Sleepy Hallow (1999)
This is a season where the personal and the global merge in a fretful uncertainty. I find solace in work, story revision, drawing, painting and shuffling through leaves.
“History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage,need not be lived again.” – Maya Angelou
Add to the mix: medical emergencies, unanswered questions, troubling headlines and even more disturbing subtexts – and the sum is one hell of an October, one hell of a year.
“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” – William Shakespeare, Macbeth
So, here’s to All Hallows’Eve, to November hurtling in on a cool gust, to the year 2020 condensing into a hard remnant, a cooling ember.
What sentences will be written with this charcoal? Which narratives? What thoughts, reflections, and insights will we glean?
Happy Halloween from the Writer Elkhound & me.