Running Through the Woods

The seasonal transition is felt most this time each year. As our clocks step backwards an hour, the days of eternal sun and warm breeze crawl further into memory. 

Soon we will forget the sensation of seeing the sun set before 6 PM. We will begin to mourn its departure ever sooner as the days shrink into night.

I suppose it’s no surprise that the welcoming of such a season– where darkness comes to seep life from our forests and to send the creatures to their winter sleep– brings with it also a curious sort of celebration. 

Death and decay urge us to court darker thoughts and to entertain scarier activities. Watching horror movies, venturing into haunted places, wiling ourselves to feel a sort of terrible urgency.

October is home to a queer energy. I find myself succumbing to it every time the month descends upon us. An extent of this stems from my Nebraskan origins. 

We midwestern folk are particularly sensitive to the mysterious aura of Halloween. As a young teen, I spent my days forcing myself into fits of fear-induced anxiety with horror. 

I went to haunted houses, pumpkin patches, even the haunted cemetery an hour outside of the city. When I left the Midwest, I sustained my urge to cringe with horror movies online and true crime podcasts. 

I ran today and as I did, I let the sweet smell of plant rot fill my nostrils. Dying leaves fell like feathers from their hibernating trees and my heart raced not for the sport but for the odd sensation that I was being followed.

I’m not sure why this feeling is so addictive to us. Perhaps the novelty of entering situations that have no ends beyond bad ones are an exciting concept. When compared to how we abuse ourselves in other ways, this one does seem a bit tame. 

Autumn and horror is a unique marriage of things. But like Spring brings with it a celebration of birth, I suppose we cannot help but relish in the autumnal welcoming of death.

Happy Halloween, friends. I hope you enjoyed this rambling that came to me during my jog today.

I’ll have to employ that habit more often.


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