Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Travel log

The East is still very much the East now. Perhaps even more so now that the leaves are off the trees but no snow has yet fallen. The bare trees, still brown and gray, lend a transparency through yards and into homes otherwise masked at other times of the year. People are still lured outside by the crisp, dry weather when they ought to be in, closing their shutters and thankful the witches that most certainly walk the old rail beds and deserted cattle paths and long-abandoned mills don't take a sudden interest in them. This quiet time, this cold stillness before the white shroud descends, this is the time to exercise the most caution. That fallen-down house is not empty. That mirror-lake is only fixing on its prey. As you look past those empty trees, their inhabitants are tracking you. Best now to fix the cracks in the floors and window frames, take down the scarecrow (make sure the crows see you doing this) and dismantle it, just to be thorough. Smile at the Pastor today. For this is not the calm of Springtime. This is not even the joyful resignation of Autumn. This is the between-season that one in the East should not stop too long to observe. The sun will drop from the tiny sky in a moment and there will be no moon. You will not enjoy the darkness tonight.

Better to pick up the pace, pull up your collar and hurry home.

Better still to pack up your own ghosts and head West.