halloween - 111.02.19

Everybody said it was one of the coldest Halloweens they can remember.  It probably wasn’t, but with the early blast of arctic air we had at the beginning of the week, and the leaves flash-frozen on the trees, it did seem unusually bitterly cold.  Yesterday, the first day of November, on an icicle sunny morning walk, crisply frozen yellow leaves stood upright in the snow.  I thought of that children’s game, freeze tag, and imagined the fallen leaves blowing across the ground, and then frozen in their tracks, as the cold front came down upon them, yelling, “freeze!”  We’ve had gorgeous late afternoons in which the sun has risen above the lake fog, flooding our living room in bright white light.  You have to sit with your back to it or you’ll be blinded.  And the new moon has been particularly spectacular, hanging first as a thin fingernail over the water, and last night, a yellow crescent, casting light all the way across the lake.  I could see it from my bed when I went to sleep, and, there is, perhaps, no softer way to let go of the day and move into the dark night.

And, dark it is, as we have now passed the midpoint between the fall equinox and the winter solstice.  The time change happens tonight, and thank goodness there will be more light in the morning for us early-early risers.  But, evenings will descend upon us quickly, and it’s the time of year when I always scurry home if I’m out and about, to get the fire going, the soup on the stove, and light the candles before all is black out the windows.  I’ve been dragging my feet in letting go of October, greedy for every single golden day before the gray cloud of November presses down upon us.  But, as often seems to happen once it turns into November, I’m ready to let it go, give in, and settle into this new season of wool blankets, fairy lights at the windows, candles on the table, stacks of books by my chair, and move into the old story of the darkest night.


Show’s over, folks. And didn’t October do
A bang-up job? Crisp breezes, full-throated cries
Of migrating geese, low-floating coral moon.
Nothing left but fool’s gold in the trees.
Did I love it enough, the full-throttle foliage,
While it lasted? Was I dazzled? The bees
Have up and quit their last-ditch flights of forage
And gone to shiver in their winter clusters.
Field mice hit the barns, big squirrels gorge
On busted chestnuts. A sky like hardened plaster
Hovers. The pasty river, its next of kin,
Coughs up reed grass fat as feather dusters.
Even the swarms of kids have given in
To winter’s big excuse, boxed-in allure:
TVs ricochet light behind pulled curtains.
The days throw up a closed sign around four.
The hapless customer who’d wanted something
Arrives to find lights out, a bolted door.





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