Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween's Remnants

A week past Halloween, the jack-o-lanterns all have this sunk-in look, (though some had gotten to that stage well in advance of Halloween). Due to car problems, I wasn’t able to get into one of the local towns for my traditional early-morning-after-Halloween walk. I always look forward to the morning after Halloween, because some of the magic and excitement of the previous night lingers in the air--accented by the pieces of dropped candy and costume parts lying here and there on the streets and sidewalks, as well as the occasional smashed pumpkin.

However, Halloween spirit was in shorter supply this year, because fewer houses were decorated. When people who normally decorate for the holidays stop doing so, that seems to be a sign of depression, stress, or absence. As I walk the scantly decorated neighborhoods, I do see a fair number of houses up for sale, including vacant houses with “notice” stickers on the doors or windows. When occupied houses are up for sale, they tell a different story and exude a different atmosphere than empty houses. There is that tinge of desolation when you see a house standing empty, especially when it sits close enough to the walk that a passerby can see beyond the windows, into the empty rooms. In any community, a certain number of houses are going to be up for sale at any given time, but it does seem that there are more of the vacant ones. As tokens of our scary economic scene, these empty houses are perhaps more spooky than any Halloween display.

On the bright side, today’s walk was enlivened by the neighborhood animal life: a brown bunny in the yard of a duplex; a fat, fluffy, puffy squirrel perched on a broken branch; and the call of bluejays coming from any quarter towards which you turn your ear.

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