I was fourteen years old, too old to go trick or treating, too young (according to my strict mother) to go to Halloween parties. But I wasn't too old to miss going trick or treating. When my eldest sister asked me if I wanted to take two of my little nieces, aged four and five, trick or treating I jumped at the chance.
Oooh, it was a perfect night for Halloween! The full moon's light was darkened at times by torn rags of clouds flying across her face. A chill little breeze sent eerie whispers through the few dead leaves still clinging to the branches and rattled through the drifts of leaves on the ground with a sound like old, unquiet bones clicking, rattling, shifting.
...Maybe it wasn't the leaves making those noises. Maybe the noise really was coming from the bones of skeletons clawing their way up from their unmarked graves because they were getting ready to come after us.
That's the story I was telling my little nieces as we walked up a very long walkway to get to the porch of an unfamiliar house where the only decoration was a scarecrow sitting on a barrel under a dim porch light. It had a pretty gruesome face but I, in my best fourteen-year-old-impersonating-a-grown-up manner, assured my apprehensive little nieces that there was nothing to be afraid of, it was just a shirt and pants stuffed with hay that someone had placed a phony head on, nothing to be afraid of at all.
But then the thing stood up! Stood up, and screamed the most blood curdling, freeze-your-bones banshee cry I had ever heard! And then it laughed, crazed-serial-killer-possessed-by-a-demon booms of laughter...while it was walking down the steps toward us!
Did I hesitate? No sir, no ma'am, I turned on my heel and ran faster than a college quarterback who knows he's going to get a multi-million dollar deal from the NFL if he makes the touchdown. But only for about four steps. Then I remembered. My sweet, defenseless little nieces! I turned, in a blind panic, and ran back. Scooping up one under each arm, tucking them in like a football, I was just a few steps in front of the monster as I turned again and ran faster than I ever had before, faster than any quarterback, faster than the wind could fly.
But still, that laughter followed and I knew that monstrous, child devouring thing was close because that high pitched giggling ... giggles? High pitched giggles? Little girl giggles.
But, yes. I set the giggling little monsters down and turned to see my sister, laughing so hard she could barely stand up, holding the scarecrow's head in her hand, but still wearing the scarecrow costume.
It was The Great Halloween Set Up. And I fell for it, hook, line and adorable little nieces.
It's a good Halloween memory, though, and we all still laugh about it. We laugh, too, about how I eventually got them in my own Great Halloween Set Up. But that's a story for another evening.
"The air is as cool as an old coin teaspoon and a faint tang of blue wood smoke spices the air. The color of the great sugar maples is so dazzling it seems I must have dreamed it." Gladys Taber
These trees aren't sugar maples, but I think the colors of Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) trees are just as beautiful. I didn't think we'd get much color this autumn because it's been so very dry, but there are spots of color here and there. Thank goodness! I can't imagine living, or being happy, where autumn brings no change...
First, thank you Vanessa for hosting this party! To see the other parties, click on the badge at the top right. (Left click to enlarge the photos).
Now, come spend a bit of Halloween in the Faery Forest! It's not too long a walk; just follow this path by the lake and turn left past the big pine.
And another left turn to take the path up through the forest. Better hurry - it gets dark early in these mountains, the fog is coming in and it's easy to get lost. The Faeries put out a pumpkin to mark the path. And see the glow at the top of the path? You're almost there!
Just stick to the path and you'll be safe.
Only a bit further...and now you have a darling kitty, Miss Maxine, to guide you!
Oh good, Miss Fortuna is here. (Just have her tell your fortune, though: I wouldn't "buy" any good luck. Sometimes, the price is more costly than you could imagine).
She has a most magical crystal ball...
And Rune Stones and, wow...three other crystal balls? Hmm...I see something strange in the one on the right, do you?
This little Faery wants to see her fortune for herself in the stones.
But these two couldn't care less!
Oh, look! Here's the Moon (I call her La Luna) flying in on her pumpkin.
I love the trail of moon dust she leaves behind her.
She's put her witch's party hat on, and she says it's time for some sweet goodies!
Out in the garden, there's a table with candy apples, chocolate cake, hot spiced apple cider and champagne. But, if you get chilly...
Inside my cottage there's a warm fire burning, cozy chairs to sit on, spice cake with cream cheese frosting, and anything to drink that you want...because the teapot is a magical one, and it will pour out any beverage you ask for!
There are also dark chocolate rum cupcakes and pumpkin cupcakes with a pecan praline filling.
Samuel Squirrel is the butler here. See him in front of the pumpkins holding a dish of candy bars? He looks like a statue, doesn't he? Don't be fooled - he just hates having his picture taken, so he freezes.
While we eat and drink, we can listen to the tale that Grandmother Bear is reading to the Book Faery. They have the same problem with photos that Samuel does - don't be fooled! Just don't look directly at them; you'll see them come alive from the corner of your eye.
Hmm. My broom must be tired of waiting to fly...she's sideways!
I hope everyone has a Halloween full of wonder and good magic. Thank you so much for coming to my party - now I'm off to visit yours!
(And a big thank you to my husband, who always does all the heavy lifting and helps me set things up for blog parties).
"In October what a feast to the eye our woods and groves present! The whole body of the air seems enriched by their slow, calm radiance. They are giving back the light they have been absorbing from the sun all summer." John Burroughs
I'm sitting by the fire tonight, listening to the autumn song that a cold breeze is singing in harmony with the huge old pines, cedars and oaks. Others are also singing; the coyotes up at the top of the ridge and two owls that have recently taken up residence in the Faery Forest. "Who, who?" Whaee, wha, whaaaeee?" "Whoooo?" They call back and forth to each other for several hours each evening under the
night-black sky that is scattered with thousands of diamond-bright stars. The only other song is the fire, quietly singing to itself as it burns in the living room fireplace.
...at half past three. Well, nearly. There's a cold little wind dancing around up here today, telling of things to come. It isn't saying anything about rain, though. Hopefully, a wind will soon come along and bring rain clouds with it! And, even better, hopefully those clouds will be loaded with rain and willing to drop it on these mountains before we all dry up and blow away...
This is a photo manipulation by Elena Dudina at Deviant Art.com. It's titled "El Bosque Magico" which means "the magic forest." There are incredibly talented digital artists at that site. I wish I knew how to do this kind of art!
Mrs. Rose: "What...what is this? A flat, oddly shaped ice cream cone? It rather looks like what the Mrs. Good Human puts out for me and my children sometimes, but it doesn't smell anything like those..."
Casper: "Oh, she's kissing my cheek, that feels so nice!"
Casper: "Where are you going?"
Mrs. Rose: (Thinking to herself) "Uh oh, oh dear, oh my gosh, it's a ghost!"
Casper: "Awww...I just wanted to visit..."
Mrs. Rose: "Thanks anyway, but I've pressing business elsewhere...no offense!" And thinking to herself, "Oh bother this time of the year! The most unexpected people pop up in the most unexpected places!"
I took this shooting up through the tall pines, and I wouldn't have taken it at all if I hadn't heard a raccoon growling at a cat. I rushed outside and chased off the raccoon, then looked up and saw the moon and the clouds. I'm wondering if the colors are the result of ice crystals in the clouds, or reflected colors from somewhere (the blurriness is because I didn't use a tripod).
Anyway, even though it's blurry, I thought the colors were interesting. I wonder what the aunts in the movie "Practical Magic" would have thought about these colors around the moon? For that matter, I wonder what my Italian Nonna would have thought. She always said when the ring around the moon is green, go out and stand in its light because that light is really good for your skin, but she never said anything about multi-colored clouds around the moon...
"The earth is what we all have in common. The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope." Wendell Berry, naturalist and author
A quiet one this time, instead of the dramatically colored ones we usually get here in the West. You can see the rings spreading out from where a fish had just jumped in the lower middle on the left side of the photo. I remember how quiet it was that evening...very unusual for Crestline in July.
And some other Wildings, big and little, who kindly share their forest with me:
Miss Sunni, a Grey Squirrel
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Mountain Lion
A Black Bear
A Young Steller's Jay
Common to high altitude forests all over the west
The photos and text on these pages, unless otherwise indicated, are my sole property. They may not be reproduced in any manner for private or commercial use without my consent.
Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~~ Albert Einstein
June Is Adopt a Cat Month
But, there are always strays who need a loving home - so don't shop, ADOPT! Click the photo for helpful tips on adopting.
If they breathe, they live. If they live, they feel. If they feel, they love. If they love, they are aware. If they are aware, they have a soul. ~ Williams
I love cats because I enjoy my home and, little by little, they become its visible soul. Jean Cocteau
Courage, dear heart ~ C.S. Lewis
I think we are bound to, and by, Nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there's a snowstorm or drought we know our fate is tied to the world around us. ~~ Alice Hoffman
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
A person who collects or is fond of books. Also, a person who immediately feels safe, happy, even euphoric, when holding a favorite book.
Where there is tea there is hope - Pinero
Care for a cuppa?
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake
Click to visit Big Bear
Lake Gregory, Crestline
Click to visit Crestline
Click to visit Lake Arrowhead
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir, from "The California Mountains"
A Favorite Quote
"I don't want life to imitate art; I want life to BE art." Carrie Fisher
I live in a little cottage with my furry "children" in a beautiful mountain forest where we enjoy daily visits from the little wild creatures. I love animals (you probably guessed), books, photography, tall trees, clear lakes, rain, snow, tea, the moon, and creating all kinds of art.