far too much writing, far too many photos

Last night: woke up in the wee hours, as I lay in bed I heard noises downstairs, the kind of noises I’ve gotten used to hearing in this house: a door closing, the sound of someone moving from one room to another. No one down there, of course — my guests left yesterday afternoon and since then I’ve been the only human in the house.

Never occurred to me when I bought this place that I’d be picking up a house some might consider to be haunted. And it’s not as if whatever goes on here that might justify that label is dramatic or nasty. Low-key is more like it. Episodic, generally polite, with seemingly no concern or awareness re: anyone else in the living space.

It’s a loaded, sometimes silly word, ‘haunted.’ Freighted with connotations, from the ridiculous to the fraudulent to the frightening to the awe-intriguing, even awe-inspiring. Whatever one might think about it, it’s become a simple fact of daily life here, though daily is too strong a qualifier. Now and then is more like it, whenever it feels like it. “It” (the second of the three ‘its’ in that last sentence, that is) being whatever produces the sounds, the kinds of noises another person in the house might make off in another room. Sometimes in the next room –- clear, distinct, straightforward. Not threatening, not spooky (apart from the fact that there’s no human body producing the sounds — if one doesn’t think about that aspect of it, it’s just something that happens in the house, the way the furnace/boiler goes on and off from time to time).

I mentioned this to my guests, G. & S., yesterday afternoon as we sat around the dining room table talking, post-lunch. S. then mentioned she thought she’d heard steps, coming from a place she knew none of us were located. Real? Who knows. Depends on who’s defining the term ‘real.’ I can tell you that the sounds I hear are not my imagination, and that’s as far as I’ll take it. Think what you will.

We’re now sailing into the season of haunted houses, a phenomenon that’s gained steam over the last ten or fifteen years — places to go for a good scare. Go with friends, scream and laugh at fake spooks, fake monsters, fake ax murderers. Some run by religious groups with a Christian agenda, others run by college or community groups. Some bigger, more organized like Spooky World. Not a kind of entertainment I’ve had much interest in, though the one time I went to Disneyland, I did the Haunted Mansion twice. That was a while ago –- bet the technology is way better now.

Why am I going on about this? The season. I may not be big on the haunted house style entertainment, but I love the atmosphere of the weeks leading up to Halloween. Yeah, it’s often cheesy, often silly. I don’t care. Something about it feels great –- the change in the way the air feels, the getting dark earlier. Leaves blowing through the air, racing along the ground or down a street before an October breeze. I love that stuff. And we’re just about to head into it. My last two Octobers were spent in Madrid, and as much as I love Madrid, it was a different kind of Halloween — hardly Halloween at all, actually. I’m looking forward to being around the New England version once again.

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