Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October Nights

This close to the Gulf Coast, October nights are however the long breath of the Gulf and the dramatic cold sighs of the arctic whisper to each other. Tonight is mild, the air soft against you when it moves. It is strong enough to carry the clouds quickly overhead and to shape the spray paint penumbra over the eggs my brother is painting into the ghosts that he will say laid the eggs on Halloween night.

It is full dark, after nine, and his front lights are dead, so we step directly into the vestibule of the night when we leave the house with planks of plastic eggs and cans of fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark paint. This used to be my grandparents' house; it no longer is. These empty gravel beds and the lack of a sweetgum tree seem to open up under the moonlight. There is enough light from occluded porches up and down the street and from the moon that we can walk across the front lawn quickly. It is dark enough that we do.

After being secured to the planks with hot glue and painted green, yellow, and glow-in-the-dark, the eggs glow a fungus green and the strands of glue give the impression of their just having been laid, perhaps by some spectral insect ticking its thorax in the darkness.

I used to walk this street without fear in the dark, with a sense of place that made the unknown fall back before me...what could be unknown on this street that I had been learning since before I started school? Tonight is mild, the night rests easy against me; yet, it doesn't let me forget that I have changed, that I have learned other streets and other nights. My brother walks me back to my parents' house when the eggs are done.

The same houses now full of different spirits channel us home.

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