Through The Trees
If there is one thing that signals the arrival of October, and with it every horror fan's favorite holiday, Halloween, it would be one very important bit of atmosphere: the changing trees. As summer dies off and fall is resurrected, our entire outside world transforms, mirroring many sentiments found in our favorite horror stories. Sometimes, if your imagination is in the right place, as you pull your coat tight around you and step out into the world, it can be like walking into your own spook story; Like the damp, cool air of a crypt, the temperature drops and an eternal chill rides the wind like an ever present ghost, caressing our face, kissing our hair, making us pull closer to our loved one and snuggle in deeper. To ward off the biting air or to ward off...something else? The days grow shorter and the sky can turn from brilliant pumpkin orange, to shocking blood red to a deep dark corpse purple. The at times deafening silence that falls upon small town streets like a hush before a whisper of dark, secret things is now punctuated as the sound of screeching dead leaves blown and scraped across worn pavement fills the still night like the sound of something not quite dead yet not quite living dragging itself across the ground. The same crackling leaves whose scent fill our noses as they are burnt across the country side as bonfire upon bonfire is lit, their embers winking out as the real dead of night draws in, draws closer, it's darkness pressing down upon silent, sleeping houses. But the one thing we all think of when we think of Halloween, are the trees.
Once verdant and green not to long ago, their bright red and orange and yellow leaves now shimmer with the recent damp of October rain. The days are a cornucopia of color. Yet, as the sun draws down the shade of night, they transform again. Their once beautiful hues are now drained of all color, as their entire structure turns black, back lit by the fiery, dying sunlight. Imposing, their majesty has morphed into something gnarled and twisted, their outstretched, increasingly bare limbs reaching upwards towards the sky as though beckoning something from it's pitch. Then the moon rises from it's grave and ascends through the night. And if you were to look up to it, and witness how the tree limbs appear to curl just so as if to cup it, or hold it aloft, it's not hard to imagine the sight of a cloaked figure sitting a top a broomstick sailing across the sky, claiming not only the night as her own, but possibly you. Suddenly the massive trunks no longer seem to be hiding you, but hiding something from you. You're not so sure now if the chill is in the air, or running down your spine. The sound you make as you loudly crunch leaves underfoot, sets your nerves a jangle and you pray that you are not signaling your presence to something, then you pray harder that your ruckus isn't drowning out the sound of it's approach. You attempt to remember the brightness of the day but the only memory that assails you is the image of that evening's blood red sunset. Blood. You now picture your's spilled and splashed across cold ground as you swear those are footsteps rustling up dry undergrowth nearby. An owl hoots. A breeze sets your pace faster as if carried by it's breath. A whisper of a warning. You chance a look at the sky to get your bearings and wish you hadn't. The gibbonous moon is peeking out behind the trees, behind a sky of glowing grey clouds. It puts you in mind of an eye slowly opening beneath the dust and dirt and roots of an impromptu grave. Alone in the frigid October night, you trudge through your own blinding breath that hangs in the air and say one last prayer: that you don't happen upon an unexpected meeting with someone, with something, in the darkest part of the woods. Around you the shadows move....I love this time of year!
To view more of Dan McCarthy's art you may do so by visiting his website here.
Mount Eerie - Through The Trees (Excerpt) ("Mt. Eerie/No Kids" 7" Single - 2008) by CF Records