When I was a kid I remember getting all dressed up in costumes we either got at K-Mart or as we got older, made ourselves. I'm sure I have pictures of some of those outfits somewhere, but I'm not sure where they are just now. Suffice it to say, though, they are much more amazing and creative in my memories than they ever were in reality. That's just how it works. Things often get better through the fuzzy gauze of remembering than they were actually. That is often a blessing.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to spend Halloween in places like New Orleans and West Hollywood. I think I even went to San Francisco one year. Those were quite the experiences, let me tell you. Funny thing though, I don't recall all that much about them. The Halloweens I remember are the ones where a group of us kids would meet up and haunt the neighborhood searching for treats, hoping for no tricks. The only trick I remember was from old Mrs. Phoote who would invite us in to get a better look, then drop a fistful of popcorn into our bag. Imagine someone doing that today!
The best Halloweens probably were the ones where I placed these guys in the picture outside my door or in my window and waiting for the little beggars to call a callin'. Some years I would dress in a costume, darken the house just enough to be spooky, and peek out through my front door's little window. "Who dares to darken my threshold!" I would hiss. Some kids were spooked. Many were mystified, perplexed. I like to think most were delighted and I gave them an extra candy. For some reason, I don't feel comfortable doing that these days. Times have changed.
I'm still not sure if I will put out Jack and Casper this year. Seems a shame to let them languish in the attic. Yet last year I don't recall having any eerie vagabonds, fairy princesses or zombie super heroes come by. There is a big neighborhood street party a few blocks away. It is safe and very well attended. Perhaps I'll just dress up the dogs and walk over. That seems to be a prudent alternative.
It's Halloween. The Eve of All Hallows. It is the evening before the Day of All Saints which is followed by the Day of All Souls. It is, in other words, a time in which we spend a lot of time remembering the dead and dearly departed. It has morphed in recent years to one of the big holidays of the year, rivaling Christmas for Heaven's sake. Not unlike Christmas, we do seem to have forgotten it real "meaning". But as with most holidays that were combined with pagan rituals, I guess that is to be expected.
Two years ago I visited the Edsel & Eleanor Ford Estate in my homeland of Michigan. It is a grand estate and former house of the automotive magnate, now a museum and event center. I took this picture as I walked the grounds in Grosse Pointe Shores on Lake St Claire. Autumn was always my favorite time in Michigan as I was growing up. Even with it preluding the cold, cruel winter ahead, it was alive with color and crisp air that let you know were alive.
Having lived in southern California for over forty years now, I have come to be able to differentiate between the season...such as they are. Trees do lose their leaves in the fall, but here in Riverside, few put of the show like they do in the midwest and New England. The intolerable heat of summer does fade into the moderate temps of fall and mild winter for sure. Souther California this time of years in probably more user friendly..especially with the coming of winter. Yes, there is a winter prelude, a surrender of passionate days of summer and early fall, but you do need to look for it. At least here in the Inland Empire.
I do tend to get a little homesick this time of year. I want to hear the leaves crunch beneath my feet and see the flocks of birds flying south for the winter. I dream of cozy evenings in front of a blazing fire in the fireplace. Chile sounds so good about now...when you are in the chilled northlands. And I truly like wearing sweaters that hug and comfort me.
But then I think about the winters and I realize that windchill factors and ice covered roads are not for me. Yes, at this point in my life I could probably just stay home and gaze out on the beautiful snowscapes, warmed by the heater and snuggled in a hand-knit afghan. I remember the times my family would cozy up just to stay warm sometimes. But even togetherness is not enough to make me want to leave the moderate temps of our mediterranean-type climate.
Still its nice to remember a childhood of snowballs and snowmen, ice rinks and frosted window-panes. The hush on the world after a snowfall is breathtaking. And trees with their limbs covered by snow shows the artistry that is nature. But I was thinking about fall. Autumn. Harvest-time. Between autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. It is a time my thoughts and heart return to a different time and place where I grew up and was much more content than I realized at the time.
And yet I am content now to remember those days. Prospective is everything. Thomas Wolfe may have said, "You can't go home again." But I like the words of Maya Angelou: "You can never go home again, but the truth is, you can never leave home, so its alright." Amen.
I was watching Jeopardy tonight and the answer was something like "Its egg is described as sky blue." Of course I knew the answer to be the robin. I am from Michigan and the robin is the state bird. There eggs are indeed sky blue, so very pretty. In fact I think I remember collecting the discarded shells from a nest or on the ground where they landed after the hatching robins left them after breaking free. Fun to look at and admire, but soon discarded like so many things kids collect.
In the late 1950s, one of the favorite colors for cars, especially Ford Thunderbirds, was robin's egg blue. If I am not mistaken, I believe the car Suzanne Somers drove in American Graffiti was one.
Anyway, for some reason, the whole robin's egg blue thing made me think about how when I would ask my mother a question, especially as it regarded color, if she didn't know the answer, she would say, "Sky-blue pink," when she didn't know the answer. And if she was particularly befuddled or frustrated or just annoyed, she would embellish it with, "sky-blue pink with yellow polka dots." Or maybe "...with green roses." In other words, I don't know, just stop.
So imagine my surprise when I googled the phrase and found out it was a real thing! Yep, goes way back. It was popular in London, but apparently originated here in the states. Who knew? You can read all about it here: Sky-Blue Pink Etymology. This of course is just one of the expressions I heard growing up, usually from my mother or my grandmother. And sometimes they come back to me while watching Jeopardy. And to think they actually were real things!
I could write a book.
In the meantime, there is a short animated film starring the Pink Panther called Sky Blue Pink!
Enjoy! Don't say I don't inform, educate and entertain. Where else would you get all this in one blog?
Quite often I find things that I am not sure what they are. You know, like an idea that just doesn't fit into your scheme of how life should be. These things come in the form of inspirations, imaginings, daydreams and the like. They just seem to come from nowhere, completely out of the blue. It is as if you are being struck by lightning. There you were, minding your own business, going about your normal activities when suddenly it hits you: this electrical charge that zaps you from head to toe and shakes every atom of your being. You can't escape. You are frozen and just hope you survive to tell the tale.
Well, I guess I am thinking about this because yesterday we had a series of thunderstorms sweep through Southern California. It brought down-pouring rain, flashing light in the heavens and rolling thunder that shivered me timbres as it were. It was all very unusual here in the land of eternal sunshine where we are in our sixth year of draught. But it just shows to go you, anything can happen...especially when you least expect it.
So I've decided that when I find something, or something finds me, and it just doesn't quite seem to fit, I need to just hold on and see what develops. I may not be sure what those things are, but they are something. It is not up to them to come with labels. It is up to me to be patient, maybe meditate a bit, and then, when I least expect it, all shall be revealed.
What got me started thinking about the percolator and all its machinations was the fact that while I haven't been on the keyboard much of late, I have been thinking about it. Ruminating at night. Daydreaming in the afternoon. Pondering, considering, fancying, imaginings and more. I've been doing it all, I realized I was PERCOLATING! Yup, the deep stirrings in my heart, gut and soul were the gurglings of something that would inspire me to answer that illusive muse once more and write! (It might have been a bit of indigestion, the indigestion that comes when you suppress what should be expressed like creativity and art but I digress).
So there it is. It is percolations. I have been writing morning pages and journaling some. I have been working on photo images and the like. All of these are percolations. Whether we like it or not, we are percolating all the time. Sometimes it produces a delicious brew to stimulate the senses and get you going. Sometimes it leads to a blog, like this one, that kicks down the block that only you can move through. And on this, a rare rainy Southern California day, the muse is speaking. And I am paying attention.