I went out walking the other morning. It was cool out (for South Texas, anyway), and I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather. The sky was almost completely covered with grey clouds, hiding the sun, and helping to keep the temperature down. The wind was chilly and invigorating. Years ago I moved from Michigan to Texas to escape the cold Winter weather. The last Winter I spent in the Midwest was a particularly cold one...I recall having to use de-icer on the frozen lock of my apartment door a few times, and even though I had the heat cranked up and insulated plastic over the sliding glass door on my patio, it was always very cold inside. My first Winter in Texas it was about 70 degrees outside in January, and I loved it then.
Lately though, I find myself missing the cold embrace of Winter...the chill wind, the frost, even the snow. It does get cold down here sometimes, depending on the particular Winter in question. Sometimes it'll get down to freezing, and other years it's like my first Winter, where it's warm out. I've been craving real seasons...an actual Winter, and even better, a real Fall. I think Fall is probably my favorite season. I used to love the changing colors of the leaves, and the crisp chill in the air. I may have to relocate to a more Northerly state one day soon...but I digress.
The neighborhod was quiet, as it ususally is. Some people have decorated their yards for Halloween, with ghosts hanging from trees and pumpkins set about. One house I pass has a dummy with a skull for a head sitting in a lawnchair, covered in spiderwebs. A few different thoughts race through my mind upon seeing this. I wonder if it's what it appears to be, or if it's actually a corpse, set in plain sight as a yard decoration. Maybe it's poor Uncle Sal who passed away months ago, but they still collect his pension. Maybe it's some salesman who rang the wrong doorbell one fateful day. Or perhaps it's a souvenier from an evening of graverobbing, now set up yearly so as to win the award for best decorated yard. Or, maybe it's just a plastic skull on a scarecrow.
I walk past a greenbelt, which is quiet at night, but now in the daytime is full of birds that are hidden in the trees and shrubs, unseen but not unheard as they all chatter and twiter, as if they all have such interesting things to say to each other that they all have to talk at once, not wanting to wait in turn. I look up at the sky, and see a patch of blue, as if the canopy of grey clouds has been pulled back by some giant who is hidden just beyond the horizon. A hawk flies through this blue patch, soaring as if the sky belongs to him, and maybe it does. I see the hawk and for a moment, all my thoughts, cares, and problems vanish as he soars up and onward, eventually leaving my sight . I walk on, my head filling back up with its usual stuff.
I make my customary stop at the local Walgreens, picking up a drink , and head back . The chill in the air is all but gone now, as the day progresses and the cloak of grey leaves the sky. As I pass back by the skull-topped scarecrow lounging in the lawnchair,I think again of the approaching day-Haloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead-the day that the border between this world and that of the Spirit World, the realm of the Dead, is supposed to give way, letting spirits and demons into this world. I have yet to see a spirit, friendly or otherwise, appear on this day. If this year is the year that those who dwell on the other side come forth, and they have no kind intentions for me, would I be prepared for them? I think back to my house, where hangs on the wall my axe, and my sword resting in the bedroom, and my faithful dog Odin, named for the lord of magic, war, and death. Not to mention the three black cats that live with me...surely they could call upon the power of their ancestors who were familiars through their feline magic that they possess. I smile and nod to myself, yeah, I'm prepared.
I finaly make it back to my house, another walk done. I don't get tired of walking, as it lets my body work and my mind wander down whatever strange paths it may take.