Orange and Black and Decay – 24 Days until Halloween

There is Halloween in the woods.

Limbs and leaves fall.  Decomposers invade.

The trees take on a different beauty in death, with fungi threading through its tissue, splitting its bark open.

Beautiful rot, as it becomes part of the forest floor.

Orange fungi.  Black muck.

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Running Through The Swamp – Halloween At Last

Happy, happy Halloween!  It’s the finale of my celebration of October and the spooky things that emerge at this time of year.  My Halloween morning was perfect: I spent it running through the woods from zombies and a swamp monster.

mudwalk-swamp witchThe MudWalk is a tradition for elementary school kids in our area.  They visit the Environmental Studies Center and then hike through a mucky swamp.  Someone always loses a shoe, and they have to pull each other across (or out) of the muck.  The Support the MudWalk Spooky 5K started several years ago as a fundraiser.  The route is paved and on a trail, and the trail run is through a haunted forest.

The trail was lined with gravestones and cautionary signs. Ghosts and bats flew overhead.  Creatures emerged from the bushes and zombies swiped at passersby.

mudwalk-spiderwebThe jump scares were pretty mild, and the monsters seemed to like that I was running by them and beaming, just wildly happy that there were so many spooky things on the trail with us.

Tonight will be clear here in Florida.  The ghouls and princesses will be in short-sleeves as they trick or treat.  I’ll be dressed as a bat to fly around the gravestones in the front yard and give out candy.  I hope you have an amazing celebration of your own.  Thank you for spending the Countdown to Halloween with me.

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow!  Come join in and find me on the NaNoWriMo site at Leaves and Cobwebs.mudwalk-tombstone

Christmas Is Creeping Up Behind You – 1 Day Until Halloween

The Halloween shelves are shrinking with the last of the cackling skeleton brides and tombstones.  There are some turkeys overlapping them, but Christmas and winter holidays are coming on strong.  I see you, giant nutcrackers and elves, just on the other side of the shelf.

RIP carolersHalloween is almost here, our last revelry of this spooky season, but the creepy celebration isn’t over.  I’ll be writing about scary things through November for NaNoWriMo.  And I’ll be finding inspiration in my beloved swamps, like these carolers guarding a grave.  Are they singing songs of celebration or lamentations?  Or an endless, hellacious round of Jingle Bells to torment the poor soul?

Writing From Wild Areas – 25 Days Until Halloween

Wild areas teem with life and death.  The urgency and decay are deeply beautiful to me and source of much of my writing.

In the wet areas, life bursts forth throughout the year. Mosquitos emerge from the water desperate for a blood meal and mating.  New shoots grow from the ground at alarming speeds. And all this life pushes up through the plant corpses and rotting muck left from the season before.  The sour swamp smells and sweet tang of green growth hang in the air. The fug is nearly tangible. You can see it rise and spread above the water at night, and sometimes you’d swear it glows.

These areas are the setting for Gothic tales with women in nightgowns fleeing barefoot across the moors.  They are where the killer lurks to watch camp counselors, before emerging to slash them one by one.  The cabin in the woods was built to lure the unsuspecting into a trap.  Why?

In wild areas, a person can’t fully know all the moves around them or hides in the undergrowth.  Life and death surround them, out of their control.

The cooler air and shorter days of Autumn are settling things down.  The wet areas can rest and simmer, slowly breaking down the bodies of this year’s dead.  When you go out to those remote areas, remember that you are walking amongst them.  They’ll cling to you when you leave.