Sunday, October 21, 2012


People are always asking me: Hey, Jon Spruce, will you come to my Hallowe’en party?

Thanks for the invitation, ladies, but I always pass.  Hallowe’en?  It’s not for me.  I’m waiting…I’m biding my time until the holiday returns to its true and native harvest roots.

I’m waiting until it becomes horrible once again.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like horror, I really do…which is why I’m patiently sitting out of the festivities until it becomes the kind of party it used to be…All Hallow’s Eve…or, in its original Celtic tongue, Samhain, meaning summer’s end.

It used to really be something…the end of the harvest and the beginning of the dark days of winter…when the cattle and sheep and goats were led from the pastures back to the barns and stables and fenced lots…a time of slaughter…a time of haystack making…when the summer fields were ignited into bonfires…a celebration of the autumn crop of rye and barley, apples, pears, quince, gourds and pumpkins…not this sugar-coated day of plastic spiders and fake cobwebs and mass-produced scarecrows, silly office parties serving candy corn and pumpkin-flavored cupcakes.

Where’s the horror in all that?

And costumes? 

I look the other way.  Seeing people on the bus or behind their desks in costumes?  It used to infuriate me.  Now, it just makes me sad.

Why?  Because back in the Samhain days of Hallowe’en, those costumes didn’t win you a free candy bar or a free round of drinks…those costumes saved your life.

During the good old Samhain days, it was once told, the quickening nightfalls and the early moons triggered the opening of doors…secret portals and foggy gateways that revealed the Otherworld, that sister-universe running parallel to ours.  Drawn by the light of the bonfires and the smell of the slaughter, the population of the Otherworld would pass through these doors and walk amongst us. 

Donning hideous masks?  That was the only way we could assimilate into the ghostly parade of spirits, demons, monsters and boogermans. 

So, thanks for the invitation but I’m out.  I’m waiting.  I guess I just like my horror the old fashioned way…which is why I went down to pay my yearly respects to the master of macabre himself…to the Edgar Allan Poe House located at 8th and Spring Garden.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


In case you didn’t notice, it’s officially October.


We’re halfway through the first moon of autumn, the Ducks Fly Moon. 

Beware, citybillies.  This moon is a game changer.

According to the farmer’s almanac, at the beginning of this moon, the length of daylight is a little bit over twelve hours long.  Here in the middle of the moon, a day spans about eleven hours, thirty minutes long…and by the end, the sun will rise at 7:30am and set at 6:15pm, a mere ten hours, forty five minutes of precious, cold, cloudy daylight.

From here on out, the moon dominates the twenty-four hours…these drizzly days of October.
Looking at the almanac’s chart of sunrises and sunsets, we are losing one minute of sunlight per day every morning…and sometimes two minutes of sunlight every evening …the two bookends of night are slowly, mechanically closing in…no escape from October.

Take heed, citybillies.  This drastic change of daylight, these falling temperatures, these days turning into nights …this moon is a trigger.

It sets things in motion.

Out there…beyond the frosted pane…beyond the cozy confines of a warm blanket and a hot cup of cider…things are changing...things are moving just as fast as the day is retreating…spiders are crawling into the warm home, hiding in the basement, nesting under the bed…snakebite cases skyrocket…and in the kingdom of Plantae?

Things reverse.  The growing season stops…the kilter comes off…plants and trees now spend all their energy undressing for the winter.  They’re battening down the hatches.  You can notice it first in the colors.  Greens turn to reds and oranges, russets and yellows.

Well…not exactly.

The trees aren’t changing colors, really.  More precisely, they are losing colors.  Well, to be exact, they are losing one color…green.

Here’s what’s happening.