Monthly Archives: October 2011

All Hallow’s Eve

Happy Halloween, oddlings.

I had an early start to the holiday.

Last night I was enjoying my Sunday bath in my enormous claw footed tub. It’s a ritual I’ve had since I was a young man.

Imagine my surprise when a skull fell out of the heating vent straight into the tub! I don’t know whose skull it is (or was, as it were) or how it came to be in the heating vent and then in my bath with me.

After a second bath, I dried the skull and left it on the counter top. Today I shall explore the secret passages between the walls, to perhaps find the rest of this fellow’s remains.

I shall also re-affix the heating vent above the tub. I’m not in the habit of enjoying guests to my bath. Invited or otherwise.

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Snow! Horrors! Monsters! Saturday Night.

Yesterday’s snow storm was unexpected and quite surprising. There are trees down in the neighborhood and late last night I heard the tell-tale sounds of chainsaws ripping into fallen tree branches.

 

The snow was heavy and wet and the air was terribly chilled. Silas cooked a delicious pork and apple curry and Bubo and I hunkered down with pumpkin cookies and old movies.

We enjoyed a double feature of Die, Monster, Die starring Mr. Boris Karloff and The Bat starring Mr. Vincent Price.

This morning I woke to happy shrieks and ice and snow sliding off the roof. The cryptids were outside, frolicking in the heat of the sunshine and mischievously knocking the snow down onto the yard. Common sense is not always bred into cryptids, you know.

It’s nearly Halloween. I don’t worry about trick-or-treaters; they tend to stay away from my old house – I think because it seems to much like an actual haunted house. Plus the gargoyles tend to move conspicuously.

Keeping candy away from Bubo is a trick in an of itself. She’s rather a fan of the sweet and tart bite-sized candies.

I’m spending the day in the basement, exploring the grotto and seeing how the cold and snow affected the subterranean canal.

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Suluk

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Deep in Northern Canada, in Nunavut, the Inuit people speak of Angilak Suluk, literally, the biggest feather. Suluk is a griffon, a beautiful creature with the body of a lion and the head and powerful wings of an eagle. She spends her summers playing hopscotch along the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, flirting with the muskox.

Griffons are regal creatures. It is said that Apollo’s carriage (and subsequently, the sun) was not pulled by horses but by griffons instead. Strong enough to carry elephants in their talons and admired for their intelligence, griffons were used as heraldic symbols by the likes of the Republic of Genoa and Trinity College, Oxford. According to the New Dictionary of Heraldry by Stephen Friar, it was believed that a griffin’s claw had medicinal properties and a griffon’s feathers could restore sight to the blind.

Suluk is loved because of her intelligence and her strength. The Norse explorers returned home from their explorations of ancient Nunavut with horror stories of blood-thirsty yetis and sea monsters that could not be vanquished. Suluk has rid the countryside of the yetis, saving the native peoples from another century of terror and pain. And the sea monsters? They seem to have vanished as well, and some say on windy nights you can still hear the echos of screams from Suluk’s attacks on the feared beasts.

But she is not just a killer of killers. Suluk loves to make snow angels, rolling in drifts with her strong legs and enormous wings. She then flies across Nunavut, shaking her feathers and toes as she swoops over towns and roads, letting the remnants of her snow angel play scatter and fall from the sky. The people of Nunavut say that the first snow fall is always from Suluk, playing in the early snow high on Barbeau Peak.

John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost:

“As when a Gryfon through the Wilderness
With winged course ore Hill or moarie Dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloined
The guarded Gold: So eagerly the fiend
Ore bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way,”

When that first snow falls (and that could be very soon for many of us, though it is still October), tilt your head to the skies and think of Suluk. She may be shaking snow from among the stars, or perhaps it’s one of her brethren. Though fearsome, they are marvelous creatures. Thank goodness they still fly, reminding us of magic and protection.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

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For Your Friday

“This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.”
– Faiz Ahmed Faiz, from “When Autumn Came,” translated by Naomi Lazard

 

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