Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ivy gets haunted by a house

Ivy knew better, much better, than to every go into an antique shop. She new she would buy something, she always did and then she always wondered why she bought it.  She wandered thought the isles while being watched by Mrs Mappes. who always reminded her of one of those portraits with the moving eyes, like in " Henry Aldrich haunts a House. "  Knowing that she was being watched closely she began looking for something she could buy and use for a gift. An ornate standing frame caught her attention, Ivy inhaled deeply and half fearing the answer, she said. " Mrs. Mappes, how much for this?"there was a short pause, "hello, ivy, I haven't seen you in awhile, come sit with me and have some of this orange spice tea my hippie daughter-in-law sent me.", Ivy, frame in hand, walked over to the table where the old woman sat.  "Here dear, my you look like you have lost weight, have a cookie, in fact have all you want."  Ivy was not so sure she wanted an answer to her question now.  "This teas needs some gin don't you think?" and before Ivy could answer Mrs Mappes had had poured a shot into her cup.  "Thanks" ivy said and took a sip, then another of tea.  "Good isn't it? So how is that handsome old viking doing?"  "Gus?,oh he's doing much better now."  "Well the nest time you see him , you tell him I want to talk to him, OK?"  Ivy nodded and took another sip of tea. The tinny bell on the door began to jingle and Mrs Mappes rose to greet the couple who entered, turning back to Ivy she said "finish your tea, dear, I won't be long."  The conversation droned in the background as Ivy admired the cameos, ropes of pears and fanciful pins that filled the cases near the table. the bell on the door began to jingle, and shortly Mrs. Mappes settle into her chair, she poured some more tea into her cup "let me warm up that tea" she said as she  refilled Ivy's cup. There was a lot of small talk and some giggling. perhaps the influence of the gin, as the two women solved the problems of the women. "Well, can't remember when I have had such a pleasant chat." Smile Mrs. Mappes "But the girls will be waiting for me, so I had better close up shop for today.  Oh, and just take that frame home with you, it's been here forever, don't know why, only needs a good cleaning."  Ivy thanked her and the two women walked to the door, "Goodnight Mrs Mappes and thank you again,"  Mrs Mappes waved from the already locked door.

It was noticeably colder as Ivy walked to her car, and it began to rain on the way home.  Most of the leaves were already down, but some still clung to the trees in their tenacious glory. For once ivy was glad her purchase was put into one of those annoying plastic sacks. She hurried to the kitchen door , and placed her purchases on the table. The chilly rain soaked into her sweater and she scrambled upstairs to change into dry cloths. 

The rain pelted the windows on the north side of the house, as Ivy prepared to make her nightly  trip up to the attic.  She watched the rain turn first to wet snow and then to fluffy fakes as the street lights came on  and the Halloween decorations began to glow.  ivy crossed to the opposite window, it was easier now to see Gus's house and she was hoping he was home, because Abagail Mappes had her wondering, and she fully intended to tell Gus about her tea with Mrs. Mappes this afternoon.
Years ago Gus's wife had made a papier mache pumpkin and decorated it to look like Uncles Sam, each year she put it in the sun porch, but the small light that illuminates it isn't on. People began to appear at their windows and wave, Ivy waved back, then settled into her rocking chair, and let her imagination run riot over the events of the afternoon. the attic was the castle turret of ivy's home, she loved to watch the lights of the town come on, and some nights she lingered so long that she fell asleep in her chair and was there to see the sunrise, gently flood over the hills accompanied by the birdsong in the summer and icy stillness in the winter.

The phone was ringing, but by the time Ivy got there who ever it was had hung up.  The frame she had bought deserved further investigation, she removed it from it's plastic dungeon and undid the loosely tied cord, unwrapped the tissue that had yellowed with age and smelled of being stored in an old building. she tried to remove the old backing and when she did, two old photos fell out. Ivy looked at them and then at the clock it was too late to call Gus now, "Even old vikings need their sleep, she chuckled. And so do I.

But Ivy didn't sleep well that night she dreamed of a  fire at a mansion on a corner, she always wanted to live in a mansion, and once she felt had been to a Halloween party there. There was wainscot in the bathroom, just like at her house, and newly installed electric lights that where what were it was later learned started the fire. She stood in the cold as firemen carried out stretchers covered with sheets, they smelled worse than anything ivy had ever smelled before. In the bushes , near the tower where her beautiful pink and lilac bedroom was. she saw one of the little girls that lived there, lying face down on the ground, ivy walked toward her and as she reached out to touch her  a man grabbed her and carried her away. She awoke with a start, the scent of smoke still in her nostrils. sitting up in bed she tried to calm herself.  Gradually the confusing dream, that had seemed so real enough to be a memory was overtaken by the familiar surroundings of her room. Ivy  curled up under the covers and  slowly drifted off to sleep.

Ivy woke late, to a chilly gray day, she would have liked to linger under the warmth and comfort of the her covers, but she couldn't.  Skye would be here soon ready to take his place as the guardian of anything that fell to the floor. And besides, Ivy wanted to talk with Gus and show the photographs to him also. She thought of all of the different ways she could slyly tell the old Viking that Mrs Mappes wanted to talk to him.  Ivy was sitting at the table studying the pictures of the woman in the grand hat, which if you looked at it just right resembled a witches hat.  and the two girls with the sad, haunting eyes. who wore equally large hair adornments. Were they her daughter, her sisters, her at a young age?  would Mrs Mappes know, probably know or she would have told Ivy, it was probably something she picked up at a sale, but why such a pretty frame had not sold, even though the price tag said $5.  Skye sat patiently waiting for his toast, " Oh,little pal  i should get you some toast"

The phone rang just as Ivy placed the toast in front of Skye, it was Mrs Mappes. "Ivy, dear, did you forget your gloves?".  "Uh," Ivy searched  the counter by the door."NO, no they are right here, but thanks for asking." "Well do stop in again I so enjoyed our tea." trying to stifle a nervous giggle "Of course I will, I enjoyed it too. One thing, who are the  women in the pictures in the frame?"  There was a long silence, "Well, I'm not sure, but the next time you are in town bring them in and I will see if i recognise them."  " OK, I will do that." Ivy said.
"I look forward to our visit. good-bye now." " Goodbye, Mrs Mappes."
"Why, Mrs Mappes, has a crush on Gus!!!!" Ivy said aloud as she replaced the receiver.

                                  ~~And so Forth

~~ And so Forth
Ivy began sweeping the kitchen floor, she playful tried to sweep Skye out her way, but skye looked back at her in such a pitiful way that Ivy instantly felt like she had done something very wrong.  She put down her broom and scooped up Skye, "Poor little man, did you have nightmares too?"  Ivy settled into her favorite chair with Skye on her lap, the ticking of the old clock lulled them both to sleep.
Skye slid off Ivy's lap at the first sign of a gentle knocking at the back door. Very slowly Ivy stood up and, and shaking the sleep from her thick head she opened the door, these sat  a half bushel of apples and , Gus was walking back toward the house with pie pumpkin.
"Thank you! you, handsome old Viking, you." Ivy blurted out.  Gus blushed, "Please . please come in I want to talk to you about something." Ivy insisted.  Gus, took a seat at the kitchen table and Skye hopped up onto his lap and ivy started the coffee. "Mrs Mappes asked me if i would tell you that she wants to talk to you, you big handsome Viking." Ivy giggled like a young girl and Gus blushed even harder. "That old girl, she won't give up. i know what she wants." "She wants you!" Ivy chided. Gus began to study his mug very carefully, then he caught sight of the old photos. "Relatives?" No replied Ivy they were in this frame um that I um bought at Mrs. Mappes. I'm gonna take it it and see if she can recognise who these people are."  "Then she can sell you some more Junk." Gus laughed.
Ivy retrieved the bag with the frame in it and handed it to him, as he pulled the frame out a darkened newspaper clipping fluttered out. Gus picked it up and began reading "Fire gutted the Bellini Mansion after The annual Halloween Gala 'um both of the daughters jumped to their deaths and the father was killed in the blaze...so were some of the guests and the maids, lets see...it was blamed on the new electric lights" Gus's voice trailed off "Look here's a picture."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

hunters moon

The Hunter's of Huntress' moon will  rise at  about sunset and set  about dawn tomorrow.   In the time of our ancestors this would have been a perfect opportunity to hunt for the wiley nocturnal stags, the leaves were off the trees affording them a better view and a better chance of a successful hunt.
Ah, but then there is Halloween, a night when when witches and bats and ghostly clouds fly across the full moon.  Halloween Full Moons are rare, and this year we will have to  settle for a a waning gibbous, but it will look very much like a full moon, to those who get to see it.  Near the  time of a full moon was probably the only time that  bats were seen flying  about, and if one used their imagination what other sights could be seen. I have gazed in awe at the meteor showers and the clouds sailing past the full moon, listened to the calls of an owl when the  streets which were usually quiet filled with giggling trick or treaters, and watched his graceful and oh so silent escape.
Along the trail of popular history, the full moon became associated with Halloween.  Far out numbering the representation of a crescent , or of a new moon.  After all it only stands to reasons that if we humans can get about better in the full moon light so can all other creatures, or does it?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

haunted house???

How to describe a "haunted house".   And does a house that is haunted look any different from a house that isn't.   There were a lot of so called "haunted houses" on the street  where I lived when I was a kid.  Us kids believed that there were at the very least ghosts and skeletons living  in them.  That. however, I learned later was the point of adults labeling these  vacant houses as "haunted".    I was let in on the secret, a secret that started during the Great Depression to protect the homes of people who had gone elsewhere to look for work, and surely they would return someday.  After the years wore on few came back,  vandals and time reduced the once fine houses to rotting heaps of timber. and they were torn down to make way for the new.
Is it that house down the street with the peeling paint and windows that look like vacant eyes, where the  trees and vines have  become overgrown and now look like grasping tendrils?  Where the wavy glass on the curtain less windows plays tricks on your imagination every time a car goes by.  Unattended and uninhabited,  what might have made this place its home?  Or why did the the owners leave and never come back, what dark force, real or imagined threat lurked inside these well built walls.

Sometimes, don't you wonder what is behind those perpetually drawn curtains and overgrown trees?  those houses that always gave you the chills when you walked past them, and  where only the bravest of Trick or treaters every dared go.

Then there was that old house by the woods, someone lived in it, there was often smoke curling from the chimney, it was  overgrown, but you could tell it had once been a nice house, but no one ever saw anyone around.  What sort of creature lived here that never showed  himself during the day?  Someone, but who. would mow the lawn from time to time, clear the weeds from the old car, which never appeared to go anywhere.  Lights went on at night.   The neighborhood kids might hide and watch to see if anyone came in or out of the house, but they never saw anyone.

photos fromhttp://www.etsy.com/shop/AndSoForth

Sunday, October 21, 2012

doubly sweet cookies

Cookies!  Sugar cookies.  in the shape of trick or treaters and cool decorations made with frosting! Not only are they delightfully  sugary, sweet, they are delightfully sweet to look at, and bring back the time when it was considered safe to ear the cookies handed out to Trick or Treaters.

Tick or Treaters wearing and old sheet and carrying a pumpkin pail for their much anticipated treats, these cookies are too delightful to eat, but worth savoring for the thought they express and the thought that went into them.   Somewhere between the poor who went door to door in  a past era begging for  "soul cakes" in exchange for saying prayers for the souls in Purgatory, and the costumes worn in later times with the hope of encouraging good fortune in the year ahead all  and the current popular ideas about it the idea of Hallows being a hallowed time for looking forward , prayer, introspection, and honoring the ancestors sure got lost.
Samhain Blessings and please pass the milk. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

digging for treasure

Each spring and fall for nearly the last 30 years I have spaded  my garden.   And today someone asked me if I was looking for treasure.  I started to laugh it  off, the people who lived here were had very little in material possessions.   they raised children and chickens and berries and baked bread, hunted and mended and tried to be self sufficient, as do we.  In fact I have found very few things, mostly shards of glass and pottery, a few clay marbles, a tiny cup, a tiny metal pig....one old penny, some complete jars and bottles back in the woods.
There is a treasure though, and that treasure is a peacefulness, and fulfillment, time spent with the beauty and majesty of  Gaia and the truths of changing seasons.  I find communion in the chickadees song.  The play of sun and clouds and the soft flatter of falling leaves,  stir the coals of excitement in my heart, recharging me and my sense of wonder.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Just to be there once again."

"Fall Blues" I have heard the nostalgic feeling some people experience at this time of the year described as.  Though I think it is more like introspection.  The final blazing display of color by Gaia, gives one pause, and appreciation really, and in those moments, when the ancient hereditary memory tells us of the perilous months ahead, perhaps we start thinking about what is important to us.

We are always going somewhere, or may-be no where, always one step ahead in out thoughts, and planning the next move, too busy moving forward to be here in the moment, here were we are, instead of there where we want to be.  The  future, the future, plan for it, be ready for it, attempt to live in it even though it has not been created yet.  The emphasis is definitely on looking forward, looking backwards is something that is considered, well backward.  and now is the only now we get and soon it will be past and....OK I'm even confusing myself trying to explain this.

"Just to be there once again
with a bottle of whiskey and an old friend,
will I ever pass that way again?"
I don't know who wrote or sang those lyrics, they drift in and out of my head, across the decades reminding me that tomorrow is uncertain, so enjoy now. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scarecrows, a couple of poems

I  am not so sure that they really scare crows, but they do make some people feel as if they are being watched.  Symbols of Fall and the harvest, even though they are usually erected in the spring or early summer and sometimes stand there all year, war sights  he must have seen, and what secrets might he know. 
~~Maryann Paris
Over time i have made a lot of scarecrows and I am always more delighted than amazed to see new versions.  Like this city scarecrow. 

What does the scarecrow know
silent ears and painted eyes
can he tell the truth from lies

Standing watch the summer long
sunrise, to sunrise
in wind, rain and sun the day long

He must know some secrets
his ragged shy smile
suggests no regrets

From full moon to new moon to full moon again
each new sunset
sets the sky aflame

When the harvest is in
scarecrow is in the barn
the fields belong to the crows again
~~Toller Gylan

And what could be sweeter that a little scarecrow fairy?  The majority of scarecrows do seem to be male, there is probably a reason for that but we won't venture into that subject this year.

                                                                            ~~Old Moss Woman's Secret Garden

Scarecrow - unknown author

Last night, alone, he saw the rising moon
 set silver fires among his stalks of corn
 and watched the tassels burn like candlewicks.
 At dawn he saw the noisy crows return.
 They know him for a friend, this man of sticks
 in boots that dangle just above the dirt,
 the handle of a rake shoved through his shirt.
 On summer days when grass around him sways
 like wave that follows wave upon the ocean,
 I've seen him shake, a dancer on a stake,
 as if he feels a music in the motion.
 And once I saw his round astonished eyes
 observe with more than painted-on surprise
 a black snake flow like water down a hole,
 and heard him sing up;

Monday, October 8, 2012

I can't get the chill out of my bones

The first really cold day, cold enough for a few wet snowflakes, and I can't get the chill out of my bones.  No amount of soup or coffee or tea warms me.  A well stoaked fireplace and the smell of fresh baked pumpkin bread are no help either.  I have spent the day watching the pelting rain knock the gold and crimson leaves off of the trees. 
There is plenty of traffic, people who have come out to see the leaves. which are falling quickly. And there are those who have to close up their summer homes, going back home with trailers, and ATVs, or a boat.  Windshield wipers flailing against the rain and spray from the other cars, headlights are needed at noontime.   When I wake up tomorrow, there will be snow, now there is nothing all that odd about snow at this time of year, it happens pretty often. and sometimes the winter that follows is mild, and sometimes not.
It is the time to withdraw into the warmth and light of the house, as the sunsets get earlier and earlier, there is mow time to read and pursue other interests, or so I tell myself.  But no matter what I tell myself, I know that it is the thought of winter coming that makes me feel so very cold; cold in my bones and cold in my soul.

Watching the sky. the rain. and the grey clouds swirl and blend in the dim daylight gives today a storybook quality, this isn't real, it is the backdrop from a mysterious or dramatic tale of long ago and far away.  Some half remembered story from childhood about a kindly old woman who lived in the woods, living off the land and making quilts and mittens and may-be cookies for all of the woodland creatures....well, I can't remember the rest. 

There's a chill in my bones, and I can't get it out.  My socks are not thick enough, the steam from the teakettle makes it worse, the quilt is too thin and lets the chill in.  A nap under the blankets, does nothing, the fireplace blazes but does not warm me, summer's fire has gone cold, and there is a chill in my soul.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

volume of wonders

I've read all the books
but one only remains sacred:
this volume of wonders, open
always before my eyes.

-Kathleen Raine

Truly I am a believer that there is a volume of wonders for us to see, and not just see but ,feel, smell ,taste and hear.  I could say to experience,for there are a volume of wonder that are simply beyond containment. Words,no matter how well written, and pictures no matter how accurately executed can't describe every nuance, and the mind is left to fill in the other details. 

And so it goes when I am take pictures, I can't capture the woodsmoke on the breeze or the distant chickadee,  the way the moss feels under my feet, or the snowflake melting on my cheek.   I can recall these things when I look at a photo, I can tell you what I heard, felt and sensed and may-be even what I was thinking, I can tell you how much something impressed  me or about the memories it  brings back, or try to with my words. 

I can wish you were there with me.


Friday, October 5, 2012

going dormant


A hard frost tonight
Under a blanket of stars
earth's long sleep begins.

Silent Sunday with animals