Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Memories

I used to live on the edge of a forest just outside of Savannah, Georgia. On Halloween, especially, I miss the eerie beauty of the place, where acorns falling from monster Live Oaks sounded like Sasquatch crashing through the woods.

I still cling to the Spanish moss, tillandsia usenioides. It drapes my sunroom—my own way of remembering the way it dripped from those sprawling southern trees like the cobwebs of an ancient and ghostly past.

We had what Southerners called “Black Widdahs,” beautiful spiders, shiny black and leggy and delicate. I watched one once. She folded herself over that lipstick-red-hourglass almost protectively.

But my favorite thrill was watching the migrating blackbirds descend every fall. There were so many thousands that they darkened the trees just like a scene from The Birds. The sound was deafening and the air itself felt electrified. It was eerie and exciting and awe inspiring all at once, like National Geographic-gone-Goth. But the real magic came when they suddenly rose as one to leave. Every single one suddenly fell silent, as if someone had flipped off the volume switch, and they lifted in a hushed, magnificent cloud so thick and black that it momentarily blocked out the sun.

Happy Halloween wherever you are!

Conversation between two trick-or-treaters (as I opened the door while they were walking away): 
Trick-or-Treater 1: Told you that’s not what ‘No Soliciting’ means.
Trick-or-Treater 2: Then what does it mean?
Trick-or-Treater 1: It means hanging around and stuff.
Me: It means I don’t want people trying to get me to buy stuff.
Trick-or-Treater 2: Oh, we don’t want you to buy stuff! We want to take stuff. Your candy.


  1. The picture you painted of the blackbirds was gorgeous. Somehow, some way, you need to incorporate that into a novel or an essay.

  2. Oh Tammy, I felt the rush of air. I also laughed at the kids conversation.

  3. What wonderful description. You are gifted at painting pictures with words. Oh, and the kids' conversation was as sweet as a Snicker bar.

  4. I agree with Sioux - great description. And what a hoot with the kids.

  5. As if you haven't already done enough to scare me. :) I've been to Savannah only once, but loved it, and your description is perfect.


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