First, foremost, Happy Halloween to each and every one of you. This holiday is my favorite of all, and I’ll get into why below, but I just wanted to first wish you this. I hope you have what you need, I hope you love what you have, I hope you’re smiling. Now, onto it.
They say—not sure who they is but they say it anyway—most people’s favorite holidays and seasons correspond to the season of their birth. Born in December, you’re gonna be a winter lover, you’re gonna adore Christmas, same goes for July and the fireworks of the 4th of July. They say this, and maybe for some of you it’s true, but for me it has absolutely, positively never been the case. I am a July birthday, but I cannot stand the summer, I loathe the 4th of July, despite it being only two days shy of my birthday. Saying this, it’s abundantly clear by the photo, the haiku, and the title of this here essay, that of all holidays, Halloween has my heart. Of all seasons, I am made for the light of Autumn.
I’ve known this, ages I’ve known this, but I’m settling into the deep and abiding understanding the older I get. This is not an essay to moan and groan, not a place for me to pick apart the seasons I struggle with worse as I age, but it is a place for honesty, it is a place for admitting what we’re capable of, what we’re happy with, and I promise there will be a point to it all in the end. This is to say, the older I get the more I lose patience and interest in a Montana winter. The cold comes too early, the snow too deep, and it stays far too long. With climate change, our winters have turned from brief periods of deep sub-zero weather, into long stretches, weeks of frigid temps, snow that falls 30 inches overnight in late September, then never fully melts until June, only to snow again before July comes. Spring has been largely eradicated, we go from winter straight into summer here now, often, from snow to 100 degrees. Summer, once a blue sky and 70 degree weather haven of my youth, only occasionally dotted with triple digit temperatures, is a thing of the past. Now, we spend weeks upon weeks over 90 degrees, which is fine, if not for the forest fire smoke that comes in June and stays until November. This summer alone, we were stuck inside due to poor air quality for almost two months in a row, with only a few days where the wind picked up enough to clear the air. Gone too, is my beloved autumn, with the heat staying longer, the smoke settling and only being extinguished by the first snowfalls. The last three years in a row, we’ve had first snowfalls in either September or October, and often, the shock freeze kills the green leaves on the deciduous trees, never allowing them to transform into the orange, the yellow, the red, or purple.
Once again, this is not a gripe, just a dissertation of fact on what climate change has done to this place, what it’s done to the season I love more than all others. BUT, but my dear friends, what this is truly about, is how I chase that haunted feeling that Halloween brings, how I adore it above all other holidays. There is something about when the leaves do change, when they crunch underfoot, when the light hits at a softer angle and the first wood fires begin to pepper the air with scent. There is something about the tangible thinning of the veil between this world and the next, the way you can almost feel the spirits long departed approaching, feel their fingers pressing on the foggy shroud between us, hear their whispers in each breeze that blows through the treetops or down the leafy streets. One place, more than almost any other, has this feeling of Halloween, is Sleepy Hollow. I don’t know how it happened, the circumstances that aligned to allow Sarah and I to spend three different Halloweens in this haunted and amazing town in New York, but every time we went we were beyond captivated by the feeling of the place. There is, without doubt, an atmosphere to the Old Dutch Church and graveyard, there is a thick warmth to the quality of light, there is a smell, a sound, and I love it more than I can say. If you’ve not yet been, if you’re a fan of all things haunted, if you’re a creator of bucket lists, I urge you to add Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown during the Halloween season to your list.
One of the most famous surf films ever made was Endless Summer, and it was about two surfers chasing summer all over the planet. Doing what they could to find, enjoy, celebrate summer in as many places as possible simply by flying to it. If I could, if money allowed and time was malleable, I would chase an Endless Autumn. I would fly around this planet in search of all the turning leaves, all the peat smoke fireplaces roaring back to life after a summer of dormancy, I would live in flannel and jeans weather, I would put on my boots and walk off into the wild unknown of it all. In a strange way, knowing this about myself, knowing what it is that makes my heart truly and actually sing, actually sets me free. While it also makes enduring the seasons that test me all the harder, it makes the times I’m able to fully surround myself with that thin veiled foggy season even more valuable. I am hauntedly in love with the reach through the dark that this season brings, the traditions of Samhain that Scotland does so well, the spooky, the ethereal, the immortal.
Now, you my dear friends, what would you chase, what season, what holiday, if given the chance to have an Endless version of it? Where does your heart sing the loudest? Why?
*Also, if I spoke in the podcast about needing, but not having, Intro music or a "theme song” please note, I recorded the audio before I figured out the theme music :) Sorry for the confusion.*
Hauntedly in love
with the thinning of this veil,
reaching through the dark.
Song of the Week
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