Today is one of those heartbreakingly beautiful October dreamdays — clear blue sky, dazzling foilage displays, crisp morning giving way to a warm afternoon. I use the word “heartbreaking” to mean both “that which sears the soul with impossible beauty” and “durn conniving Jezebel of a day that tricks you into not being torqued that summer is over and the Season of Double-Plus Ungood is on its way.” I know many people consider fall to be their favorite season, but I greet it with the same enthusiasm as I greeted my first gray hair and the grooves on my forehead that no longer smooth out–hunker down, lads, it only gets worse from here.
So I’m being a little dramatic. Perhaps if my corner of the world actually got snow it could hang on to during the winter, I would look forward to winter a smidge more. Some of my best childhood memories involve long Snow Days home from school, digging forts into the banked-up snow until our extremities were numb, after which we could go in and sit on the hearth next to the fire (but I never did figure out WHY warming up those wet mittens made them smell like they were rotten). Here it is just brown, brown, brown, from November through bleak February.
Add to that the ever-increasing inventory of inflatable lawn ornaments that come out of hibernation this time of year to populate my town with evil gaucheness. It starts with seven-foot-tall Dracu-Tiggers and doesn’t end until someone finally drags the sodden, mutilated, and thoroughly sad Santa Homers off the lawn sometime in March. If you have these unmistakable announcements of poor taste cluttering your yard, I will pull no punches in my judgment of your ferociously insipid kitsch. It’s like landscaping with sagebrush: I’ve never seen it done well, and it seems inherently impossible to do so.
While I indulge myself in crotchetiness, I have to wonder what Madame Chaos thinks about fall. At two, she’s old enough to remember going to the beach and having to go to bed while it was still light outside, but not old enough to know that those days will come around again. “It’s darking, mama!” she tells me as the sun sets too early– and she doesn’t like the creepy masks, skeletons, and witches that seem to be everywhere she looks. We spent some time with fmhLisa this weekend, and her family goes all out for Halloween decorating (minus the lawn ornaments, thankfully). Included in her decor is a vast collection of awesome vintage masks all over the walls in every room in the house, and even suspended from the ceiling fans–I told her she’s got to take pictures and blog about it. Anyway, Madame Chaos was traumatized by even the seemingly innocuous Disney ones and clung to me fervently. “It scare me,” she whimpered, “I don’t like dat!” before burying her head in my shoulder. So what’s it like when you’re two, and the Summer of Happy Sunshine Nakedness is over and the world seems to be hurtling toward Hell?
It’s darking, indeed.