"The glacier knocks in the cupboard, The desert sighs in the bed, And the crack in the teacup opens A lane to the land of the dead."

-W.H. Auden

Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

It's the end of the year, a very difficult one for many. The year to come is met with trepidation. What can we do but continue to hope and work toward the best? Fatalism is tempting, but offers no solution. This isn't the time to let each other down.

This year hasn't been so bad for me, personally. Judging by my posting habits, I've managed to post here more than any other year (and would have done more if my computer hadn't chucked it). It's been about 16 months since I began regularly using brainwave entrainment to treat my anxiety and depression, and am sure this is the reason. 

No, I'm not cured, nor "normal" by any means, but it's a major improvement, and for that I am grateful. 

As it is, I'm going to keep chugging on, keep up with my unconventional therapies, get a new computer, hold to my responsibilities and work up the bravery to be a help to my fellow man.

With luck, we will survive living in these interesting times.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

When Dark Comes At Six

It was a frigid evening in December, with clouds so low that car lights reflected in the sky.  It was Thursday, too, which was my day off and also payday. I'd meant to get my check, but had fallen asleep and now it was getting late. It was after 4 by then, though the blank grey sky made it seem even later

I had to go, and quick. I was wearing a thin cotton dress, seafoam green with pink flowers. Perhaps it seems an odd choice for the season, but I was very young then and gauche, and couldn't afford many nice dresses anyway.  I put on my wool coat and  scarf before rushing out the door.

It was a mile to walk to work and back. The wind was icy,  I remember that, even with the coat and scarf. I remember turning my collar up against the cold. I remember crossing the high bridge over the river, the one that always made me worry that I would lose my mind and jump.

But memory is a tricky thing. Sometimes I have a mental image of seeing the plaza that evening, all lit with lamps in the gloom. Other times I'm not so sure. And while I must have made it to my workplace, through the ubiquitous Christmas music and peachy-apricot scents, this no longer exists as a firm reality. But I must have done all the same, because the check was certainly in my purse, uncashed, later that night.

The next thing  I remember for sure, I was standing on the edge of the street - it was grey, too, like everything else - dithering over whether I could make it to the bank before closing time. There were two men talking, not too far away. One of them had curly hair and was wearing a suit. They broke off their conversation to look at me.

I nodded at them rather distractedly. The light was fading. But I'd hardly got more than a block when a car drove up next to me.

The man in the suit said, it's so cold, do you need a ride anywhere? I said no, but thanks anyway.  I made to walk on. He said, I was just going to dinner, will you join me? Please?  He gestured at the restaurant across the street.

While I did like his fine suit and his rather elegant hands, I demurred.  I was still thinking of the bank. I had Christmas shopping to do.

He took my hesitation as something else, though. He said, You don't have to get in the car with me. I'll be at the restaurant and you can meet me there if you like.

After he drove away, I stood on the icy, wind-blown corner and pondered my fate. Wither this way or that? In the end, I met him. It came down to practicalities, you see. I was getting a bit hungry by then, and I really wasn't sure I could cash my check in time to buy anything to eat.

He bought us dinner and we talked. He said he lived in Austin but had come here on business. He was engaging and friendly. I found him appealing  despite our age difference, but was sceptical as he was the type who was usually married. He swore up and down he wasn't, and in fact this would turn out to be true. He was only what he claimed to be, really, a lonely businessman passing through town on this particular Wintery day.

When we finished our meal, he asked if he could take me out for a cappuccino. I didn't answer right away, since this was so long ago, I didn't even drink coffee yet, let alone fancy Italian drinks. The man said if I'd rather, we could have ice cream instead. I told him I wasn't sure, and this was the truth. But I was enjoying myself, and the man was nice, even if he kept staring at me funny.

"What is it you need?" he asked, with suprising sincerity. "a reference?" He offered to call an assortment of people who would vouch for him. He gave me his business card with his home address on the back. Finally, he gave me his driver's licence. He said, take this, amd if I get fresh with you, you can keep it.

By this time I was laughing, so it was easy to say yes. It wasn't that I didn't like him, or  even trust him somewhat at this point. It was that I knew we would end up in a relationship, and I wasn't sure at that moment if I wanted to take that path or carry on alone.

By the time we left the restaurant, the sky had faded into night. The man was staring at me again. Feeling a bit exasperated, I asked him why he kept looking at me. Why on earth did he want to go out with me so bad? He apologized and said  - with an earnest awkwardness that seemed ... maybe ... impossible to fake - "It's because you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen in real life."

Ah, such words! Perhaps only another Ugly Sister could appreciate the way I felt then, in the saddest, hidden corners of her heart.

At the coffee house, we had both cappuccino and ice cream among the Christmassy lights. I was no longer so cold in my seafoam dress.  We talked about how we wished we could fast forward to the future, 6 months or a year or 3. Ostensibly this is so we could say we were in love, but really we wanted to evade the challenges we knew would break us apart. We were too flawed for it to be otherwise, even if we would pretend it was not so for years.

At that moment, though, in that reality, all was still potential. The man (his name was Michael, by the way, since we've already reached the point of planning our life together) asks me to come to a party at his father's house on Sunday. His whole family will be there. He says he'll pick me up at work at 6, when the store closes that evening. By now, I've given up my token resistance. I'm happy enough to agree

And so it is three days later, I'm at work, nervously fussing around my apparel domain. I's almost closing time. Through the wall-sized windows I can see the early darkness settling. And here now too I can see Michael, ready to take me to his father's house, with a dozen roses in arms.

Whatever happens after this is not important - well, it is, but not for the purposes of this post. It's that I promised myself then to remember this moment always, when dark comes at six and the weather is cold.

This post is my way of keeping that vow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Solstice

Merry Solstice and Happy Winter Holidays to all.

Speaking Of Hemlock...

Fire And Hemlock, by Diana Wynne Jones, has been one of my favorite books since the second time I read it, back in 1988 .The second time, because the first, I'd scratched my head and wondered what the heck it all meant. I then re-read it and found it fascinating. This seems to be a fairly common pattern with fans of the book. It's a complex story, especially for a young adult novel, full of literary allusions and parallels that are not immediately clear. It's the kind of story a person really has to read more than once.

A lot has been written about the plot of this book, and I'm not really equal to writing more. Still, for the purposes of this post, I'll give a brief synopsis to give some idea of why I found the book so intriguing.

(some spoilers ahead, if you haven't read it.

The story begins with a young woman, Polly, about to head back to college. While packing her things, something triggers a memory, or several memories, that she knows must be false. As she tries to puzzle it out, she unlocks a flood of recollections from her childhood, beginning with the day she met a strange man at a funeral.

The book takes us through these lost memories, her odd and somewhat sketchy relationship with the man, and the overarching, ominous hold that his ex-wife and in-laws seem to have over him.

Considering the man's name is Thomas Lynn, and each chapter of the book begins with a quote from Tam Lin or Thomas The Rhymer, it's not hard to guess this aspect of the book. It's not even hidden, really, that the book is partly a modern reworking of Tam Lin. If I remember correctly, the copy I took out of the library even had this as a blurb on the cover. But if this is all it was, I don't think it would be so interesting.

Polly's adventures with Tom ("hero business", they call it) are mixed in with ordinary life, but Polly's parents are too self-absorbed and neglectful to even notice. "One of your Mr. Nobodies" her mother calls him, before letting Polly go off to Tom's London flat without even bothering to meet him first.

That there is something sinister, even supernatural, going on with Tom is accepted by Polly without much question, the way children do. Of course, Tom won't talk about it, clearly can't talk about it - Polly is sensitive to these things due to her difficult parents - so as she grows older, she resolves to find out exactly what's going on with Mr. Lynn.

When her hidden memories of Tom come to an abrupt halt, the grown-up Polly has to figure out what terrible thing she'd done that had erased him from her life so completely.

I'll leave it there, though I don't know if that in any way captures what is so appealing about the book.

Perhaps the most technically masterful thing Jones accomplished in this novel is the way she moves Polly from child to adult in a seamless, realistic way. Polly's hidden memories move from imaginative little girl to  tomboy, to fickle adolescent, to a somewhat overconfident teen, to finally a college-age woman who is unsure what she will do with her future. Yet Polly is always recognizably the same character. Looking back through these stages of her life has a haunting quality, and the once upon a time element that one expects to find in fairy tales is here present in Polly's own story.

School and home are also rendered with depth and realism, and the fantastical elements, while necessarily less realistic, are not so unbelievable in the context of the story.  The weaving together of the ordinary and extraordinary is one of Jones' hallmarks, and Fire And Hemlock is probably the book where she does it best.

Which isn't to say that the story isn't opaque at points, or at least translucent, in the sense of that thick block glass that only lets you see light and shadow. For instance, you are never explicitly told why Polly is able to intuitively grasp so much of Tom's situation, or why his in-laws perceive her as such a threat. And as far as the denouement goes, Jones was almost too clever for her own good. The answers are there in the story, but Jones clearly expected the reader to do the work and figure it out themselves. Hence the tendency for fans to go at the book like archeologists on a dig. You'd think we were interpreting one of Borges more convoluted works, not a YA novel.

For me, there is an essential whyness (I don't think that's a word, but never mind) that lies at the foundation of this story. As in, why did Jones write this particular book? I'd always had a strong sense that she hadn't done it just because it was a good story (after all, Tam Lin has been done dozens of times) or just to be clever, or because there is any particular moral in it.

I did know that she'd wanted to explore the concept of the female hero, because Jones said so herself. But that wasn't the answer I was looking for either. No, there was something else going on underneath the story, and it was mightily hard to get at.

Which brings me, at last, to the point of this post. I think I finally found it, the "why". Not in Fire And Hemlock or any of the other works referenced within, but in a short story of hers called The Master.

 I had heard that Jones wrote The Master about a recurring nightmare she'd had, and then written Fire And Hemlock out of the same set of ideas, but hadn't been able to get my hands on a copy since no nearby library or bookstore carried it. So this weekend, I was thrilled to discover this book preview of Jones's Unexpected Magic that actually included it. Double thrills!

 The Master is the third story when you scroll down:
https://www.harpercollins.com/web-sampler/978006555351
(Edit - or not. Some technichal difficulties with the link. But googling Unexpected Magic book sampler brings it up just fine.)

Even though The Master and Fire And Hemlock are very different stories, if you overlay one on top of the other the similarities are clear. The eerie, otherworldy house in the woods is the basis for Hunsdon House. The vet who is called into this situation is analogous, in many ways, to Polly. Egbert has elements of Tom, including the geas laid upon him not to tell. The unsettling rose garden links to the Tam Lin tale and T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, both. The wolves and their behavior - perhaps most tellingly of all - reflect Tom's in-laws. The list could go on and on.

As for the "why" of it, that is apparent, too. Both tales spring from a dream, the kind that haunt and nag at you and beg to be exorcized by finally understanding them. Which is exactly what Jones has inspired in the  most obsessive readers of Fire And Hemlock.

And if that is what Jones meant to do, then that was the most technically masterful thing she accomplished in the book.

It only took 27 years for me to work it out. It was worth it, though.


Monday, November 21, 2016

As though Of Hemlock Had I Drunk

During a walk in the woods, I came across masses of what appeared to be hemlock, although closer examination shows it might actually be wild parsnip. I wasn't willing to run any tests to find out.

"As though of parsnips had I drunk" doesn't sound quite as poetic, though.

And here are these trees, just because I thought they looked nice.



Saturday, November 19, 2016

What I Wore Last Thursday

On the Thursday after the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, I found myself at McDonald's, where I'd stopped to get my morning coffee. In the cold and echoing restroom, I took this selfie in the weird selfie-mirror they have because, I suppose, we are now living in some kind of bizarro world and I hoped the me on the other side was having a better time.

Looking back, I kind of admire the way I fail to exactly match the color scheme.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Little Crow

On Halloween, our little one got his fondest wish, to dress as a crow. Although he was glad enough to play raven to his older brother's Poe. As long as he could flap his wings and play in the grass "just like a real bird", he was as happy as a cla...erm, corvid. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Spooky Scary Skeletons

It's late October, the year is turning, the weather is cooling and leaves are beginning to fall. Along the streets, signs of Halloween appear. In the shops, ghostly figures gather.
There are a lot of things to do, like planning hayrides and carving pumpkins. The little one wants to be a crow this year, so there's a complicated costume to make. But for me, personally, the most important thing about Halloween isn't dressing up or trick or treat, though naturally this is great fun. It's a spiritual night, the time I feel closest to my ancestors and loved ones who have passed on. They have been known to drop by at any old time of the year, but Halloween is special. The air fairly crackles with it.

My favorite Halloween memories are not of anything dramatic, but small moments infused with an ineffable...something.

The school Fall festivals and playing games under the full moon. Baking pumpkin pie.Crossing the bridge above the creek and hearing the leaves rustle ominously. And then there is my very favorite memory, the time I saw the last trick-or-treater of the night - a young girl dressed as a witch - jump the wrought iron fence on the corner. She could have walked around it, but she jumped instead, and I was so glad. She was about 11, and I knew, with a certain melancholy, that her fence-jumping days would soon be over. For that moment though, she was truly a little witch.
 
And as always, there is the sense that spirits are close at hand.

After midnight, when everyone has gone home, it's time to leave offerings for the dead. There is candy, fruit, and (when I can manage) bread baked in the shape of little men. Scoff all you want, but when you have guests, you should always show them hospitality. Most times the weather is warm, but sometimes cold wind whips around my ankles as I make my rounds. Regardless, it must be done, because this is the essence of it all, the point of connection between the living and the dead.

In our family, we often joke that Halloween is a more important holiday than Thanksgiving or Christmas, our equivalent, and we'll be like the family in the Ray Bradbury story, Homecoming. Perhaps this will be the day everyone will come for the holidays every year, fluttering home like bats through the moonlight.

It's not a bad idea. They know we'll always leave a light on for them.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Supernatural Domestic Gothic 5 - The Craft, Or Never Trust A Man In A Bolo Tie

A charm to ward off evil spirits and diaper rash - you know she's going to need it.
More commonly known by the rather dull title To Save A Child, this TV movie was broadcast as The Craft back in 1994. This was the only name I'd known it under, which made it onerously difficult to find, not the least because the big budget film "The Craft" buried any search results. Luckily, the site What Was That Weird Movie came through and revealed the facts, assuring me that it did indeed exist. I'd searched for it so long I was beginning to wonder.

Isabella is a young bride, a doctor's wife who is expecting a baby. She moves from her hometown to her in-laws' ranch in the Southwest, but before she does, the religious studies professor she works for gives her the charm seen above - he must know something she doesn't.

At first everyone in the remote desert town seems friendly, almost overbearingly so, and soon there are signs that something is amiss. Her mother-in-law is all up in her business, her father-in-law is gropey and her husband is always away, leaving Isabella to cope on her own. What's more, there is something not right about the townsfolk. In fact, the whole town is chock full of not right. It makes Twin Peaks seem normal in comparison.

Isabella's only friend is Janelle, a battered wife who warns her that "when the light hits a certain way, the townspeople don't even look human" and that she should leave because "they're gonna get you, and for sure they're gonna get your baby."

See? Chock full of Not Right.

When Isabella sees something nasty in an outbuilding on the ranch, we know that all bets are off.

To Save A Child (Aka The Craft) 1991
https://youtu.be/nLvIUhqohXM
  
Because I consider this (only slightly acerbically) to be the best TV movie ever made, I was surprised to learn that it had actually been a failed series pilot that was repurposed as a stand-alone film. Perhaps this is one of the things I like about it so much, that it's necessarily open-ended to leave room for a series that never happened. That adds something to it, I think. Despite plot similarities to The Lighting Incident, the somewhat surreal camera work and twangy guitar soundtrack owe quite a bit to Twin Peaks. Just more overtly sinister and in the desert, which is fine by me.

Some may question my taste - after all, I thought Two Moon Junction was great - but I maintain that they just DON'T UNDERSTAND.

Supernatural Domestic Gothic has fallen out of favor in recent times, replaced by hackneyed teenage vampires and more straight-up horror themes, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one day, one day, it will come back into vogue.

When it does, I'll have the popcorn ready.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Supernatural Domestic Gothic 4 - The Lightning Incident

Also known as The Lightning Field. I could swear it was broadcast at least once under the name "The Night Of The Lightning", but I can't find any confirmation of that. Perhaps, like the heroine of the Lightning Incident, I was having a visionary experience.You can never be too sure about these things. ;)

In this film, Nancy McKeon plays a pregnant sculptor who is working on an art installation meant to attract lightning in the desert. (Pity no one told her there already is one ). After she begins to have the aforementioned visions, she discovers a connection to a sinister South American cult. This is bad news for our heroine, because the cult happens to want her baby for nefarious purposes. As you can imagine, Drama ensues.

Sadly, there's no way to link to the film because the only one on youtube is private, but there is a trailer:
https://youtu.be/0GpJpAXbsmk

I liked The Lightning Incident because it delivers most everything you'd want and expect from this type of TV movie, and the desert setting is a refreshing change from the usual New England (or very occasionally Old South) locales where TV movie producers must assume these things happen.

 I have to confess though, mainly I liked it because of the strong similarity it bears to my very favorite TV movie of all time, the one where the genre reaches its highest heights, the ultimate triumph of the form. That one will be the next and final post in this series, so stay tuned.

 Obviously, you'll be waiting with bated breath...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Supernatural Domestic Gothic 3 - Midnight Offerings

While Midnight Offerings does involve domestic settings, this classic piece of 80's pop culture is more of a teen/school drama. Instead of the mean girl vs nice girl trope, however, we have bad witch vs good witch. And Vivian is a bad, bad witch indeed.

Seriously. I mean, look at that set-up in her room. No teenage occult dabbler I ever knew had gear like that. It must have cost a fortune. Girl was dedicated.

If you've ever had dark suspicions about the fumes emanating from your teen's bedroom, this is a film for you.

Midnight Offerings, 1981
https://youtu.be/DacsxjzSLZc


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Supernatural Domestic Gothic 2 - Midnight's Child

 
If that Swedish Au Pair seems too good to be true, she probably is.

Midnight's Child, 1992
https://youtu.be/tjGGxCs0Ug4

Midnight's Child is genuinely eerie and does a good job of playing on unconscious (as well as conscious) feminine fears. One issue, though, is that the heroine is so often cranky that I find myself rooting for the nanny. Then again, maybe that's what we're meant to do...

Supernatural Domestic Gothic Part 1 - Bay Cove

I confess to having an inordinate love for Domestic Gothic. Your nice new neighbor is acting a bit secretive? Well, perhaps he/she is a psychopathic killer or member of a sinister cult. Your husband dismisses your sudden, uncharacteristic bouts of memory loss? Watch out, he's probably drugging your tea. Before you know it, you'll be committed to a psychiatric ward and he'll have control over your grandfather's fortune. Dastardly!

While TV shows like Desperate Housewives were big hits, I claim that Domestic Gothic reached its most perfect televised form in the Lifetime Television Movie. Back in the 90's, I was an eager consumer of such things, huddled in my darkened living room with endless bowls of popcorn. Will the heroine foil the evil plot? Will she escape in time, hopefully with the remnants of her social and/or family structure intact? Of course she will, and in a suitably dramatic fashion, too

While Domestic Gothic comes in many forms (you know you're watching Domestic Gothic by the way the camera follows the heroine around like a creepy voyeur) my favorite subtype is Supernatural Domestic Gothic, which is what I'll be highlighting in this series of posts. What could be better viewing for this spooky Autumnal season? Garden-variety psycho killers are nothing compared to fighting posses of witches or the devil himself!

First up - Pamela Sue Martin discovers there is something very strange going on in the sleepy village of Bay Cove. Why has no one been buried in the church yard since the 1700's? Who is that old man watching her? Why is there a flaming pentagram in the basement of the general store?

Bay Coven, 1987
https://youtu.be/5Ftsu9xbFx4

I can't embed the video here, but please click the link for thrilling, cheesy fun. :)





Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tree In Silver

Just to make this a trio of trees, a lovely talisman I found last Summer. It has a most lucky feel to it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Witch Fire Tree

Yesterday's post about The Witch Tree Symbol reminded me of this photo from California's witch fire, in 2007. Sort of a fiery twin of the other. If you look carefully, you can see the simulacra of a witch in this one, too.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Witch Tree Symbol

During a discussion of favorite book covers this weekend, I recalled this one from back in the day. The right cover can make a book memorable, and this is a good example. I was a huge Nancy Drew fan as a kid, but the plot of the Witch Tree Symbol wasn't my favorite -  that honor might have to go to The Secret of The Wooden Lady or The Mysterious Mannequin. However, the cover painting was truly awesome. Girl detective, dark night, spooky tree - what's not to love? But the best part, the very best part, is the witch.

Can you see it?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Storm Is Brewing...

And not just the 2016 presidential election. I mean a literal storm is brewing, in the sky above my house. There will be lightning before long.

But about that election...

I know well the trouble with using tarot to predict the outcome of an election. Or predicting too far in advance. How could I forget Bush v. Gore, when I had been reading the cards every day for months? It had come up Gore every time - until the day of the election itself. Then the cards wouldn't read at all. They wouldn't even shuffle. They had suddenly become slippery, and I knew something was amiss.

Call me crazy, but I had the unnerving feeling that some invisible hand had reached in and changed things - changed the channel, as it were. Or (tarot being what it is) had altered the probablities. I was down at the corner shop when FOX news called Florida for Bush way too early. (Of course it had to be at the corner shop, because no way were we watching FOX news at my house.) I walked back home, shaking my head, because it was obvious something was off. Well, we all know what happened after that.

With this in mind, I've been hesitant to do too much forecasting in regard to this year's election. Not that I've done none - are you kidding? This contest is making me very nervous, so of course I have - but am showing admirable restraint.

First I read for the conventions, because I was worried there would be danger there. The cards showed nothing you wouldn't expect, and - proving that I'm not much a psychic without the medium of the cards - showed that Trump would become the Republican nominee. I'd thought for sure the GOP would give him the bum's rush. The outlay for Clinton showed her in a very strong position. So far, so good.

The next time I felt anxious enough to do a political reading was Monday night, before the first debate. I was anxious, but there was the benefit of knowing the outcome in a couple of hours. The layouts were interesting. I won't bother with all the details, just the striking ones.

The majority of Clinton's cards were strong (the high priestess, strength, the ace of swords etc.) and in the future position, the magician in the upright position. The reading for Trump, on the other hand, was mostly weak, from a political standpoint - (the devil, five of wands, seven of wands reversed). Most striking: in the future position, he also had the magician, but reversed. So far, it was pretty clear - it looked like Hillary Clinton was going to open a can of Whoop-ass on Donald Trump.

That's why the final outcome card in each reading was so strange. (final outcome meaning the debate, not the election.) For her, it was the three of swords, for him, the nine of cups, otherwise known as the wish card. Say what? Clinton would win, but be emotionally distressed, Trump would lose but be triumphant?

Then I realized my mistake. I was reading the reactions of the candidates themselves. It was entirely possible that Clinton might win, but feel less than great emotionally. Trump might lose, but feel that he won - or get what he wanted from the debate, anyway. It occurred to me, too, that Trump might want to lose because he doesn't really want to be president. He might want to run for president, but not actually want the job

Regardless, I realized what I really needed to know is what the public perception of the debate would be. I threw down a quick couple of yes/no readings. Would the majority of people watching the debate feel that Clinton won? 6 up - definite yes. I asked the same for Trump. 5 down 1 up - so most people would say  no but a small percentage would say yes.

I laid out a full reading. What would be the majority opinion about this debate? The final card was most telling: the king of wands, reversed. Ah, so Trump would bring out his blustering, authoritarian side. It had been something the papers had been wondering about all week. I wasn't so sure myself. The presidential debates are high stakes, surely he wouldn't go that route.

But the cards are right far more often than I am. It only took about 15 minutes for them to be proved correct. By midnight, all reports showed the reading had been spot on.

Again, so far, so far, so good. But I will continue to exercise restraint. No reading for the election itself until it draws closer. I will do another reading before the next debate and time permitting, throw them up on the blog.

We shall see.





Sunday, September 25, 2016

Carnivalia

 It's county fair and carnival time again - at the proper time of year, not Winter, like Victoria (seriously, Victoria,WTF?) No, it's after a long hot summer that communities traditionally gather to judge each other's vegetables, sheep and pies. Also to blow wads of cash on midway games.
,
After visiting the petting zoo and the art display (where my son took home first prize - congratulations L.!) we rushed to hit our favorite part, the carnival.

One may reasonably wonder why, at my advanced age, I'm still enamored of thrill rides. Well, there's no instantly transformative experience like defying gravity. The moment I think I'm too old for carnival rides will be the moment I'm officially no fun any more. You might as well pack it in.

Anyway, it's hard to be miserable when you're whirling around in a giant teacup.

I do love carnivals for other reasons though, something more Bradbury-esque.  Just at the time when the year begins to wind down, this strange, transient world appears under cover of darkness. It's all light and color and noise, when the day before it was only dusty ground. It's like a portal of sorts, into something most unusual.

And even if you aren't trapped forever, the mirror maze will force you to confront your mortal image...
at the end of September, when the veil between worlds begins to grow thin.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Equinox

The Autumnal equinox has come, so it's time to post my requisite picture of grass. :)

It has been a strange, chaotic Summer; hopefully it will be a far more peaceful Fall.



Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Ghost Of Coffee Comes To Call

I was annoyed when I spilled my coffee the other morning, until I saw it had become a ghost.
The coffee ghost looks rather annoyed, too, mind.

Hopefully it won't continue to haunt us with sleepless nights.

Moon Over Whataburger


The Harvest Moon rises over Whataburger, and for a moment, everything is as it should be. ;)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Prognostication By Firefly

I was outside watching the stars the other night when a meteor flamed across the sky. Close. Really close. Right above my head. Wait a minute, that can't be right. 

I looked up and saw another another. Ah, a firefly, obviously. But it was flying fast, in a swooping trajectory that left a trail of light. It was easy to see how I'd mistaken it for a shooting star at first. 

Not that I'm an expert, but this wasn't the usual low hover and slow blink of the local insects that makes them so easy to catch.  Its behavior seemed odd, even erratic.

The last two evenings, just at twilight, the fireflies have been crazy active, fast blinking. Sometimes the hedgerows seem lit from the inside. It's a beautiful thing to see, this luminescent mating ritual. But I get this feeling that the fireflies are so busy because they know time is getting short. There's more than a little desperation in the air. 

Granny Clampett never said anything about predicting the weather by fireflies, but I'll take a crack at it - I predict a change in the weather. I suspect Autumn will come early this year.
There was not exactly gold at the end of this rainbow, but there were t-shirts for $7.99, which is just as good.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The End Of The Season

If you go down to the end of the resort, where the buildings thin out and the tourists never go, you'll find these last couple of rooms, straddling a murky canal.

I can't imagine they rent these rooms - not these days, anyway. The errant inner tube floating there indicates even the staff have abandoned it.

It must have not always been this way. I wonder how it came about, these derelict rooms in a busy resort. Surely the water had been fresh and flowing once. Perhaps all the changes and renovations they've made have altered its course, creating this dead end.

 I tried to think back to the way things used to be, but the park has changed so much and so often that it's impossible for my mind's eye to see. So many places built and rebuilt and paved over. With no map for reference, it becomes as vague as Stonehenge. The only thing left is a nagging feeling that things were once different, somehow.

It's something that always catches my eye and intrigues me, these signs of abandonment. It sometimes troubles me, too. Perhaps there's a subtle hint of foreboding in it. The changes that time inevitably brings.

I wander about the resort, noticing the bits and pieces left over from the past. The traces are growing dim, like my own childhood, and eventually must be replaced with something new.

In the meantime, though, we are still standing, like this empty room at the end of the season.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Secrets of a Rainy Night

The night feels very close tonight, enclosed, as if it's drawn itself around us.

There was a rain shower earlier, a surprisingly cold one, and I had to go out in it. The feeling started then, I think. Dashing around, as if I could avoid getting wet. But it was the kind of rain that just makes you laugh. There's no point in trying to stay dry. Might as well get wetter.

The rain stopped after a few minutes. Here and there, little patches of mist rose from the ground. The flowering bushes seemed to lean toward us, the hedges making little tunnels to walk through. It all felt very different, as if the ordinary world had been replaced with a secret one.

Indoors, it was the same, as if the night had come inside too. The hallway was another tunnel, with soft glowing lights. Mysteries in every corner. It does feel like that; as if the night has a secret, and you could know what it is, if only you knew how to listen the right way.

Even if I knew it, I would never tell.