I love October. The bonfires in the middle of nowhere. The chilly climate demanding the use of sweatshirts promoting your favorite college sports team. The Halloween decorations on front lawns (even if you are not a participant yourself). The grimness of the season, a foreshadowing of the cold, vengeful winter to come where the vegetation dies. Autumn and it's gloom with trees burning on fire and the leaf piles on the side of the road that will soon follow those fiery trees. The autumn, a celebration of the harvest collection that will sustain you in the hopeless dark winters. I seriously love this time of year. It reminds us the fun and festival of summer was but a season, when play seemed limitless. Fall announces the great inward turning into self and indoors, the places where sane men grow mad.
Then there is Halloween (in our case, Harvest Parties). The Jack-o-Lanterns, and the monster costumes as the last hurrah laughing at us and our human inability to remain in the peaceful bliss of summer. As Nietzche says,
"The Festival of peace is just a masked ball where in the back rooms, rage & resentment primp for their own grand entrance toward the end of the evening."
I can think of no better definition of October and Halloween...The waning minutes before the rage of winter. All we are left to do in this time is trick ourselves into a controlled fear in preparation for the death blows of winter and give a little candy to innocent and spoiled children along the way.
I write all this October romanticism as a self declared Mr.October. I thrive in it's dread and perhaps the most incremental part of living October for us is the scary stories that are bound to come about ever so subtly on these harrowing evenings every year. And don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Either it's a horror movie on TV that gave you nightmares as a kid when you were up way past your bedtime or your storytelling relative telling you an urban legend at night around a bonfire that gave you so many goosebumps that you wondered if you were secretly a scaly reptile.
Or perhaps, when you think of October, you think about that fright night visiting friends up at Western Michigan University to party as a backslider 7 years ago when your pagan friends made you the designated driver for the evening and in retaliation that night, you forced them in their drunken buffoonery to go into a seemingly haunted and abandoned insane asylum (pictured here):
Upon entry on the third floor inside the building with your friends, you encounter the most paranormal encounter of your life complete with loud and thunderous footsteps racing up the staircase behind you and walking towards you in the hallway the group is facingThen there were the doors! The doors that inexplicably opened and slammed shut as you brave men walked that hallway waiting for the first person to confess they literally went to the bathroom in their pants. And no matter how hard you try to rationally explain away the experience you know you cannot take away the horror that occurred that night. (This so totally happened and I totally am cynical about it all even though such cynicism is pure self deception so I can sleep well at night even though my friends and I who encountered the asylum that night could not sleep the entire night of the incident).
Or if you're Apostolic, October always means scary stories about Ouija Boards. Those stupid demon infested Ouija boards and the parents who encountered them before they were saved and the tales of those dreadful encounters they force onto our souls. Usually couches being lifted are involved in the Ouija story or things thrown across the room by demons are involved. We eat this stuff up.
In the same vain I offer the following fictional scary story that ends with corny but quite symbolically applicable ending:
So I continue on into the chilly night. I even hear faint whispers of a human variety and I just tell myself it's the wind wrestling through the trees. Of course it's only the trees. Ghosts don't exist. Although I have goosebumps. And I can see the path that I am on only a few feet in front of me at each step. The moon is dimly lit tonight. I walk on trying to laugh at myself and the paranoia raging inside me of over-thinking every noise i hear. But then, the sound of cracking branches, coming from the the woods that run parallel to this path I am on. Cracking Branches! Someone is in the woods. Something is following me. It wants to devour my soul. It can see me and I can only hear it. It's only a critter probably. A squirrel or something. What is this path I am on? Where am I going? Where does this path even lead to?
I could continue trying to write on about my walk on this path, talking continually, trying to pathetically portray the sense that I am getting the sense that I am being stalked by a specter or mauling beast, or both, but it would be monotonous and am now realizing how I have no idea how to write a scary story with mounting tension, so let's get to the main part....
Dropping their petals and remaining motionless;
Where is there and end to the drifting wreckage,
The prayer of the bone on the beach, the unprayable
Prayer at the calamitous annunciation?
Consequence of further days and hours,
While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
Years of living among the breakage
Of what was believed in as the most reliable—
And therefore the fittest for renunciation.
Pride or resentment at failing powers,
The unattached devotion which might pass for devotionless,
In a drifting boat with a slow leakage,
The silent listening to the undeniable
Clamour of the bell of the last annunciation.
There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing,
No end to the withering of withered flowers,
To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless,
To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage,
The bone's prayer to Death its God.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)