I had a good conversation on Twitter about writer's inspiration. I realized that I'm drawn towards horror stories in the Autumn. The obvious correlation to Halloween isn't the only reason. Most of it comes from the scent of decay in the air. Leaves turn to mould, apples rot on the ground, the by-product of wine grapes presses down on the air with its sour notes. Mildew permeates everything.
It's also the time of Fall fairs with their carnivals and clowns. "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." I always associated that quote with Road Dahl and Ray Bradbury because they had such wicked observations of the nature of man. I missed out on MacBeth by moving to another province midway through high school.
Yet, Autumn is my favourite season. The smell of wood smoke riding the cool breeze reminds me of Hansel and Gretel. Cotton candy and taffy apples or even apple cider to fill the blood with the sugar rush that makes me feel invincible, daring, confident I'll return unscathed from the dark basement.
It's the time of year when rats scurry from lodging to lodging for the perfect damp place to hide out the winter months. Squirrels throw the empty walnut shells from the tree. My yard is littered with the remnants of their gorging feasts. Claw marks decorate the outer blocks of our foundation.
Yet, I love it all. I love the smells, the colours of leaves as they age then float to the ground. I love the myriad textures of the ground as it cools and retains moisture. Holes appear where before there was solid ground. The rat-a-tat pop of shells hitting the deck and the angry chatter of squirrels squabbling over the late harvest. So many flavours dance upon my tongue; pumpkin, peach, wine, fresh corn, squash, rich dark concord grapes. Autumn is a feast for the senses.
Fear underscores it all. Fear that there won't be enough food. That we're aging faster than we like. That the ground will flood. That the crops won't return next spring. That there are things waiting in the dark more terrifying than we can imagine.
We like the fear because it shows we care. We are attached to the return of all we need. And we believe it all will. It always has.
There's no reason to think it won't again.
But we enjoy the thrill of fear, regardless.