Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Night Was Always Coming

"Well, boys, do you see? It's all one, yes?"
"Yes—" someone murmured.
"Always the same but different, eh? every age, every time. Day was always over. Night was always coming. And aren't you always afraid, Apeman there? or you, Mummy, that the sun will never rise again?"
"Yesss," more of them whispered.

And they looked up through the levels of the great house and saw every age, every story, and all the men in history staring round about as the sun rose and set. Apemen trembled. Egyptians cried laments. Greeks and Romans paraded their dead. Summer fell dead. Winter put it in the grave. A billion voices wept. The wind of time shook the vast house. The windows rattled and broke like men's eyes, into crystal tears. Then, with cries of delight, ten thousand times a million men welcomed back bright summer suns which rose to burn each window with fire!

"Do you see, lads? Think! People vanished forever. They died, oh Lord, they died! but came back in dreams. Those dreams were called Ghosts, and frightened men in every age—"
"Ah!" cried a billion voices from attics and basements.
Shadows climbed walls like old films rerun in ancient theaters. Puffs of smoke lingered at doors with sad eyes and gibbering mouths.

"Night and day. Summer and winter, boys. Seedtime and harvest. Life and death. That's what Halloween is, all rolled up into one. Noon and midnight. Being born, boys. Rolling over, playing dead like dogs, lads. And getting up again, barking, racing through thousands of years of death each day and each night Halloween, boys, every night, every single night dark and fearful until at last you made it and hid in cities and towns and had some rest and could get your breath.
"And you began to live longer and have more time, and space out the deaths, and put away fear and at last have only special days in each year when you thought of night and dawn and spring and autumn and being born and being dead."

— Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree