The first “storm” of the season is on its way to Southern California, bringing with it high winds and light snow. I’m hopeful (but not realistic) about seeing a flake or two this weekend. My trees are billowing as I write this, and about ready to drop their leaves.
I love this time of year: the time when the desert is a little more colorful, when people bundle in sweaters and scarfs, when the smell of fireplaces and warm cooking are almost everywhere.
And so are the traveling carnivals. You know what I’m talking about: those caravans of Big Rigs that take over the local mall parking lot for less than a week. The rusted colorful contraptions they set up when no one’s looking. It’s as though they sneak in at the dead of night and stay just long enough to play their creepy music. Then just as suddenly, they’re gone.
Every year they show up here at the end of October, and two things happen.
First, the wind blows harder and colder, forcing pedestrians to wrap their coats tighter as they scurry to and from the safety of their buildings or cars. Their eyes dart about to find what their hands don’t want to reach for unless they have to. Cold handles, flying papers. Anything the wind can play with.
Second, I always think of Ray Bradbury’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. I read the book in junior high, the year my father passed away. I could relate to the absent father storyline. It was fresh pain. Being raised in the midwest the descriptive book and subsequent movie seemed to add to the already imaginative thoughts I carried: the atmosphere of falling leaves, the early nightfalls, and all the What If’s… The story both scared and delighted me, creating that sweaty nervousness that only a great page can.
To this day, I count it as one of my favorite stories. It must be. It still affects how I feel at the end of October.
The desert isn’t a colorful place. Grass yards are not the norm, and rainstorms are few and far between. And so today’s storm is teasing us, saying this is what could be. Very much like Mr. Dark tempting the boys.
The winds bring apprehension and suspense. Maybe tomorrow there will be the smell of rain. At night, perhaps a snowflake or two. Full of promise… or lies.
An autumn wind always makes me think Hitchcockian. What secrets blow with it? What will it take away when it leaves? The local carnival left today. I wonder if the storm drove it away, or is following the show.
And I can’t help but recite, as the sun sets and the leaves rustle in the howling winds…
Something wicked this way comes.”
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!