ghosts and seasons

I guess there's a season for ghosts. You never hear about them in the spring, when it's bright and green and cheerful and everything is excited to be alive and has no time for ghosts, or the summer, when it's warm and lazy and the world is content and unconcerned about the things which haunt forgotten places. They come out in the autumn, when the air takes on a chill that you tell yourself doesn't need a coat, but outside waiting for the light to change you shiver and wish you'd grabbed that black hoodie hanging by the stairs. And they are quiet, announcing their presence in the rattling of the leaves and the howl of the wind and the steady beat of the rain--and autumn rain is so much more spectral than a summer rain, so much colder. There's an energy in an autumn rain that the summer doesn't have, because the summer is content just to be. It's an energy that reminds you you are not alone, because there are ghosts here.

They linger for winter, when the leaves have fallen and the harvest is gathered and there is no more time for forgetting coats, no more need for reminders that there are ghosts when they lurk in every wispy breath, but the winter is not their season--it's a season for fires and blankets and hot chocolate. Winter is a time for winter festivals, the little ceremonies and celebrations we've built so that we can forget the ghosts that haunt us when the leaves are red and yellow, but the ghosts are still there, in the snow and the frost and the endless grey. And sometimes when the embers are dying and the sky is dark even those cheery bone-fires become something haunted--not just now, but even in retrospect. What are the dancing flames if not ghostly?

But you are warm and dry and there is more hot chocolate, and sometimes even ghosts make good company.

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