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The Sights of the Season

There’s more in the air than falling leaves this time of year

     Have you been seeing things?
There’s a lot to see as autumn shoots a last blast of color before fading to winter’s grayscale. In Chesapeake Country’s moderate color zone — our current status according to the Foliage Network — sumac and dogwoods are blazing and pin oaks bronzing through the yellowing green. The dappled treescape evokes the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ lovely poem Pied Beauty. 
     Flowering grasses add paler tints, while late-blooming mums and dahlias add fireworks.
     There may be more to see this time of year. Perhaps more than meets the eye.
     Amid lessening light and dying gardens, the beauty we behold is bittersweet, melting our hearts for all that’s lost and losing. We find ourselves staring into the past, reading memories like a history book. Through the doors we open, what might pass?
     All the spirits on the other side, according to the consensus of history. For Halloween is old Samhain and the Día de Muertos, and on its other side, November 1 and 2, are All Saints and All Souls Days. 
     Free Will Astrologer Rob Brezsny is of that consensus.
      “There is in fact another real world that overlaps the material world, and it operates according to different laws that are mostly imperceptible to our senses,” he writes in this week’s column.
     Are you entertaining visitors from that other world? Have you been seeing ghosts?
     Tangible ones bobble from the trees of homes along my daily way. At my final corner, a massive ghostly dog guards the ground of St. Martin’s Lutheran Church and School. My neighbor’s just-passed mother appears to her as a red cardinal at my bird feeder, assuring her all is well.
     May any less-tangible ghosts you encounter be ­spirits as light-hearted as these.
     As are the ghosts appearing in Bay Weekly’s pages.
     For this spirited season, our writers bring you two ghost stories. Without mutual consultation or editorial advice, both Diana Dinsick and Jackie Graves have chronicled ghosts at peace with their place in the vast and mysterious universe we share with who knows how many kinds and categories of creatures. In this paper, we have none of the implacable ghosts that haunt our worst dreams. 
     Diana’s ghosts of the Inn of the Rising Sun, Randolph among them, are real. At least as real as ghosts can be. Jackie’s ghosts are imaginary, in this form, but the people they rise from are all real Marylanders. 
     You may, I promise you, meet them here without fear. Even the Halloween associated animals you’ll meet in this issue — spiders and owls — appear on good behavior. 
     Astrologer Brezsny advises that such encounters can be valuable.
     “Events in the other real world can have tangible effects in the material world,” he writes. “Take advantage! Seek practical answers and solutions in your dreams, meditations, visions and numinous encounters.”
     His counsel is directed to Capricorns, but there may be something in it for the rest of us, too.
     Speaking of this time of year, this very weekend is your last chance to encounter many of the season’s very special events, fall festivals and hauntings. Those are sights worth seeing.
     Come Halloween on Tuesday, I hope you see many more sights.
 

Pied Beauty
 
Glory be to God for dappled things — 
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough; 
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. 
All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him.