The gateway to winter. The month of October, a time of transition, a seasonal purgatory. The magnificence of the fall foliage, yellows, reds, browns, oranges. The leaves may be beautiful, but they are dying. They burn brightest just before they fall from the trees to create a mulchy, squelchy mess beneath your feet.

The end of October, the beginning of November, a liminal time of year when worlds meet, natural and supernatural, when the threshold between them seems to hover just out of sight, when spirits feel close if you can peel back the layer of distraction created by candy and costumes.

It’s the annual halfway house, neither one thing nor another, still warm days with freezing nights. Bright daylight followed by a swift descent into darkness. It seems so abrupt after the long days of summer and even though we know it’s coming, it still seems to catch us unawares.

For we resist, this coming of winter, these approaching months of darkness. We light bonfires to imitate the sun, to stave off the night, to purify the air, filled with the stench of rotting foliage, of decay, of death.

For this is the Festival of the Dead, the month of All Souls, the time when they are closest to us.


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