A little jaunt down memory lane… A Peru plagued by electrical outages, hyperinflation, terrorism and scarcities, while teachers kept on keeping on… recently published in The Blue Nib
Certain things just don’t get forgotten. Moments can etch many an experience into the memory that we might prefer not to remember. An unfortunate bit of bad timing can burn a split second into an indelible scar that could one day be seen as amusing. At the time, of course, it was not.
The Trick-or-treaters are finally gone, and our wheelbarrow-filled-with-skulls-and-treats (do-it-yourself-virus-conscious) strategy seems to have worked well. But I just realized that the deadline is an hour away for the 10th annual Halloweensie Contest, and I actually wrote an entry for it!
So, in honor of Susan Hill’s tradition (and in hopes of qualifying for one of the amazing prizes donated for the cause of promoting children’s literature) I present a little story here for your perusal. I also invite you to hope over to https://susannahill.com/blog/ to submerge yourself in a world of creative responses to the challenge to write a story in 100 words or less that includes the three words “skeleton, creep, and mask” in any variation.
“Too many leaves!” the old witch complains
“And those caw-cawing crows creep louder than trains!
Leaves bury my toadstools. Noise hurts my ears,
They’re ruining Halloween every year!”
She conjures a spell in her rusty old kettle
throwing in thorns and a handful of nettles.
“Let’s turn them to pebbles, old Skeleton friend!
Free those poor toadstools and let the noise end.
I’ll get our masks, you stir while I go.”
But Skeleton whispered her plot to the crows.
The birds flew away with their beaks full of leaves,
so the witch could enjoy her All Hallows Eve.
Old English halgian “to make holy, sanctify; to honor as holy, consecrate, ordain,” related to halig “holy,” from Proto-Germanic *hailagon (source also of Old Saxon helagon, Middle Dutch heligen, Old Norse helga), from PIE root *kailo- “whole, uninjured, of good omen” (see health). Used in Christian translations to render Latin sanctificare. Related: Hallowed; hallowing.
“holy person, saint,” Old English haliga, halga, from hallow (v.). Obsolete except in Halloween.
Thoughts on this 31st of OctoberWe reflect on the eve of the hallows of old
as leaves flurry past us, red, yellow and gold
the words of John Lewis, who walked with the wind,
call out for justice to truly begin
echoes of hallowed ones join in the chorus,
summoned for healing
they gather before us
Even as time forges furrows in my brow, Halloween calls forth the eternal child, conjuring magical nights of sweetness and pretend. While the trees shed for winter in these northern climes, summer is blooming in my other hemisphere. I may have mixed feelings about the nature of the holiday and its excesses and sugary hangovers, but autumn always rests easy at the heart of my soul.
This year, with the word particularly challenged, I find solace in the nearby woods, and turn again to some of the final words that John Lewis shared with the world before his passing in July.