Halloween, for those of a mind to be mystical, supposedly just recently kicked open the door to the death of the year known by one type of calendar as number 2019.
Yesterday, where I live in western-ish and upstate-ish New York, the ambient daylight temperature in my neighborhood finally froze all the flowers in my back yard, and they went from being doughty little spots of color waving in a chill breeze to drooping, slightly mushy rags on stalks.
At this point, during the day, skies are either grey and threatening or bright blue and laden with huge bright white morphing sentient vapor beasts. Um, clouds, you know?
Even slight breezes numb uncovered fingers. And this with temperatures just at freezing, Fahrenheit style.
At night, thanks to unhermetically sealed doors and windows and old floor vents attached to a modern furnace, my 1907 American foursquare house is chilly and damp from the floor up about a foot and a half and slightly over-warm and desiccating from that point to the ceiling.
If I have all the lights on to keep things brightly visible indoors, colors and shadows are fluorescently harsh despite my choosing mellow-colored LED bulbs. If I turn off lights to create a cozier, gentler atmosphere, there are dark corners where my grey-striped tabby cat and my two tuxedo cats can sit comfortably invisible until they trot out into the middle of a floor to meow for food and startle me toward toppling over.
A glance out my curtained living room window shows edges of house fronts, brown-leaved trees, and parked cars gleaming with the orange light of street lamps. All else is dark; my imagination marks large swaths of my neighborhood nonexistent with tiny banners of spidery script floating in front of my eyes: here be dragons.
In my robe and fleece socks, wandering around the kitchen, waiting for soup to boil on the stove, I check and discover some melancholy sighs I can offer in tribute to the suddenly vanished days of cold lemonade and house flies meeting and mating on the edge of the bathroom sink, the wall next to the side door, the rim of the cats’ litter box.
But once I get soup ladled into a bowl and shuffle in and sit crouched over it at the dining room table, sometimes in the dark because I just don’t want to get up and flip a switch, I can close my eyes and listen to the cats purring as they lie upside down on the floor. And even though my ankles are cold, and the tip of my nose is cold, and I can’t even conceive of where next spring is located on my calendar or in the grand scheme of things, I feel warm and happy that it’s November.