I am not letting the fact that I don’t have a party to go to stop me from dressing up. It’s Halloween after all, and I am claiming my inner witch! And let’s just be clear: The good witch and the bad one, too — both.
I decide to step out with my camera and descend upon the Monticello Trail for a walk, certain I will pass someone I know, someone I can corral into taking my picture. At the very least, folks in their hiking garb will get a laugh.
On the uphill, I pass one person after the next going about their business. But they don’t seem to register that I am here meandering up a mountain with a chartreuse, silk, witches hat with fake spiders clinging to the veil.
I start to get worried and a little embarrassed. Maybe the hikers are so used to seeing me in some kind of wacky outfit that I don’t phase them one bit, or maybe I am successfully blending into the surrounding terrain like those camouflage frogs. Or maybe, just maybe folks are deep in meditation and have a lot on their mind. After all, they’re not a party, either. Besides, this is the time to connect with the other side, when the veil is the thinnest, or so I have heard.
I know that a good ghoul’s joy is not contingent upon someone noticing them. Well, maybe not. If someone dresses up in the forest and there’s nobody to see them? Just sayin.’ At least something about this dressing-up thing liberates my soul from the confines of expectation and habit and sets it free.
After all, I am out in the cold like a kid trick-or-treating who’s hoping to getting plastic, pumpkin faces full of Caravelle candy bars. And I am being powerful, embracing my inner witch with this scratchy wig. And the inner child who loved being scared by a spooky story, well, she’s feeling free to remember…
How my mom loved Edgar Allan Poe and used to read “The Tell-Tale Heart” to me and my sister with such conviction that her words sent us running through the halls screaming. And even though we were momentarily scared, we felt safe in our fear, knowing it was temporary, and would wear off soon.
Suddenly, I spot some friends up the way who are heading towards me on the path, and I stop them in their tracks to strike a pose. After mild coercion, one of them captures this shot (above). There’s joy there in those locks. I had given up hope I would find a willing, All-Hallow’s-Eve photojournalist, but I did.
Running down the mountain howling in delight, I hear the sound of my mom’s stories nipping at my heels, the words of my truth reverberating up from the earth like its heartbeat.
Which way, witch? Which way?
To joy, to joy, I say!
It’s not too late.