Archives for category: Photography

IMAG0927The joy of Halloween for my family is decorating. Over the years we have built up quite a collection of tombstones, coffins and props. Each year offers up a different feature that captures the attention of the guests. I’ll never forget the first year we set up the tombstones. They consisted of five slabs of plywood painted white with names. As one family came down the street, their children spotted our decorations.

An excited cry burst out from their little boy, “I want to go to that house over there!” He gestured to our display.

His parents were a little hesitant. “Why don’t we go down this street first and come around on the way back?”

The boy was not to be deterred. “No. No!” he cried and raced across the street. My parents and I were on the porch the whole time and laughed as the children ran up. I handed out the candy and waved him off.

IMAG0934(1)One year featured a flock of ravens; another a bloodbath with floating eyeballs. All the older children and teens would pause and poke the floating orbs, horrified fascination clear on their faces.

This year the theme was spiders. We dangled giant, hairy tarantulas from strings. All those tall enough would run into the spiders, startle and jump back. That was their punishment for rushing up and not taking the time to enjoy our decorations.

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We had about 150 visitors, which is pretty good for our neighborhood. Per capita, this city is one of the oldest in the nation and the houses are pretty spread out. That’s why we see a fair amount of cars on the road on Halloween. We were a little worried for our neighborhood cats in fact. Our own were meowing at the door wanting to go out and we feared they would be run over with all the traffic.

Our neighbor who has recently moved in and started decorating asked us how many visitors to expect. Upon hearing the answer he yelps, “Oh #&$%*! I need more candy.” He promptly hops in his car and drives off to the store.

IMAG0923My little brother finally decided to go trick-or-treating for the first time in his life. He’s rather shy with adult strangers and has always shaken his head furiously when asked to participate. Usually he likes to see all the kids in their costumes and hand out candy. Though he did that too later on… introducing himself loudly to the bemusement of those on the doorstep.

Some of the costumes were quite interesting. Two young girls ran up in beautifully embroidered Persian dresses and capes. When asked where they got their costumes, they replied that their mother had sewn it for them. Another group, a teenager with his younger brothers, was poor and they all couldn’t afford costumes from the store so they improvised. The teen dressed up as a terrorist with clothes from his wardrobe. That one was in fact rather scary in spite of its mundane origins.

IMAG0929Our household is determined to provide for every child who comes to our door. In the event of a candy shortage, we would resort to my brother’s gummy treats. One group rang at about 9:15 at night. Three children from the same family who’d gotten a late start. Luckily there was just enough candy to give each child about three pieces and then the bucket was empty. However, no more arrived that night.

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Inspired by Path to Darkness

Composed by Adrian Von Ziegler

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Dark, Cold, Still, Death…
Dark, Cold, Still, Death…

Listen, do you hear the dead call?
Do you hear them call?           
Hear them calling out for you.

Hear how all the birds crow.
Now the shadows grow.
Life is fleeing far from you.

All the world is frozen.
Now the chill sets in.
Warmth is creeping fast from you.

Yesterday the wind slept.
Now it holds its breath.
Death is stealing upon you.

The path is wide open
Room enough for those men
Who wander far from home
Who never cease to roam. 

They do not fear monsters,
Dread beasts, or conjurors.
They do not fear the witch
Whose soul is black as pitch.

They have no fear of wraiths,
Ghosts or other spirits.
They have no fear of hell
And its deep, fiery pits.

You need not fear the end
You’ve become one of them.
Darkness has come for you.
Death soon will lead you too.

Dark, Cold, Still, Death…
Dark, Cold, Still, Death…

IMG_1060The days grow short. The air grows cold. The harvest comes to an end. The leaves fade and the plants wither. Summer is dying. Winter lurks around the corner. Samhain has arrived. In Celtic tradition, October 31st marked the end of the year. On that day the old year would die. On that day the world of the living and the world of the dead would intertwine.

IMG_1045For the Celts, this was a time for celebration, preparation, and remembrance as well, for the dead would walk amongst the living once more. Loved ones, long gone, would rejoin their families. The Celts lit great bonfires to guide these spirits safely to their new home. When we light candles and illuminate carved pumpkins for Halloween, we carry on this ancient tradition unaware of its original purpose.

IMG_1038Of course spirits of the otherworld were not necessarily benign. Often mischievous and sometimes malicious, the ghosts would receive food and blessings from the households they visited. If not, the family could expect tricks. Some people would dress up as the otherworldly creatures and once mistaken for one of the spirits would then be left alone. Some would even take advantage of the night to obtain food and gifts for themselves.

IMG_1178However, Samhain was not necessarily a night of terror for the Celts, not for a people who so valued darkness and the dead. Samhain was a time for the people to celebrate the gift of life before they were worn down by the hardships of winter. They could revel in their harvest and enjoy the fruit of their labor. Games with apples and pumpkins were as popular then as they are now. The community would host parties and feasts even inviting the spirits. 

With the spread of Christianity, the old holidays were superseded, Samhain among them. The day was converted into All Hallow’s Eve to eventually become known as Halloween. However, the people were loath to give up beliefs so fundamental to their culture. To those who look, the old celebration is buried just beneath the surface. This is the day where we are reminded that life and death are not as far apart as they seem, that a belief in the supernatural lurks in the mind of every human. Like the Celts we also remember that it is a time to just appreciate life itself. 

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The Soldier

The soldier soldiered ever, ever on
Through trials harsh that crushed his fragile soul.
His life he gave to serve a distant goal,
A pointless quest. And he remained a pawn
To forces callous, cruel, and cold. From dawn
‘Til dusk, he struggled on. There was no lull.
His sacrifice was vain, but play the role          
He must, though hope had failed, though hope was gone.

In spite of this, the soldier strove and fought.
But why? Tenacious, tough, though overtaxed,
His grip on life endured. Not love, but hate
Sustained him through the wretched seasons fraught
with war. But strange, today he looks relaxed.
As if he merely waits to meet with fate.

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On my last post, one of my followers, Marmar Thunder, remarked that I was “a song writer.” So I figured, “Why not?” This piece is set to Castle in the Mist from the videogame Ico.

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Raging Seas
Barren Lands
Gangs of Thieves
Murd’rous Bands

Castles Tall
Swords That Pierce
Strong Stone Walls
Armies Fierce

I will tell you, of
Great Realms that lie beyond the sea,
But I’ll warn you, Love,

Please don’t go.
Please stay here.
If you must,
Please take care.

For beware, there, Danger thrives.
I don’t know what you will find.
Please don’t go, just stay here with me,
Don’t go…

Mystery,
Adventure,
Victory,
Conquest Sure.

The Siren, she calls for you.
You’re enthralled. You know it’s true.
Please don’t go, just stay here with me,
Don’t go…

Long Voyage,
Torn Apart,
No Salvage,
Broken Heart

But. this. is. the. end.
I. must. give. in.
To. the. pain.
Of. lo.sing. you.
Fare…well…

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