I never knew candy corn grew on trees until I ran across these bushes on a recent hike. Nonetheless, I tend to be somewhat of a curmudgeon about Halloween. Its level of commercialization seems nearly to have caught up with that of Christmas. The neighborhood is now littered with plastic skeletons, spider webs from a can, and limp hanging ghosts. The worst look all too much like the lynchings of yore. And the underlying message is seems a lot less uplifting than that of Christmas. More about death and the dead than about life and the living.
If I'm forced to meditate on the spirits of Halloween, I prefer the woods and nature to plastic skulls and alien ghouls. The season is appropriate, with its foretastes of winter. As the leaves are swept away, their susurration inevitably yields to the hollow howls of January, blowing down off the mountains. Only the skeletons remain. Death, after all, is a part of life too.
James West Davidson
Occasional thoughts on history, teaching, paddling and the outdoors