Yesterday I went for a run in the rain because there are certain ghosts which are only active on rainy days. Certain witchy folk too. Like most of these things, I found out by accident years ago. At a race in another town, far from the finish line, a gentle sprinkle turned into a raging thunderstorm. Since it was a relay I couldn’t bail. My segment was the last. My teammates were waiting at the finish line, having completed their own portions of the race. It was incumbent upon me to keep going, so I did. When the worst of the storm subsided I finished in steady rain but it was in the last few miles of that rain I noticed I wasn’t alone in the grey.
Ghosts may not even be the right term. I use it as a default term because despite my awareness of them and theirs, I remain undereducated as to who and what they really are. And no one has come forward to correct me regarding terminology, only to dispute me regarding existence. But ever since that day I perk up anytime I get caught in the rain while out on a run. Sometimes I even do it on purpose, like yesterday. Light misty rain is perfect for checking in with the puddle folk.
Yesterday the rainy day ghosts seemed quite amused by all the soggy Halloween decorations strewn about the suburban lawns. Sitting around in the mid-morning drizzle it all just looks like so much plastic junk. Imagine if landfills were segregated by holiday. The Halloween landfill would be the cheesiest. No, wait. The Easter landfill would probably be cheesiest, followed closely by Halloween. But the ghosts and I did share a brief laugh over the fake sounds of thunder coming from one particular lawn. So not scary.
You know those people who say rainy days make them want to sleep? They say things like Oh, this is great napping weather or This just makes me want to sleep in all day or I just want to go back to bed or I’m going to sleep so good tonight. Because it’s raining. And then there’s the opposite kind of people who don’t get it and think this is crazy talk. I think the crazy talk people get spelled. They get magicked. The rainy day spirits put those people to sleep (or at least make them drowsy and droopy) so they won’t get scared. So then people like me can meet up with old friends. Or make new ones.
One of the bloggers I’ve been following forever has opened a brick and mortar bookstore a few states away from Mercyburg. Or rather, she’s trying to get it open. She secured a deliciously haunted space for it but new flooring is needed to meet modern-day building codes. To raise money for this she is peddling merch, as we do. I say we because I did the same thing for my yoga business years ago, ergo I’m not a hater.
As a gesture of support I purchased one of her beverage vessels. I’m quite sure some kind of spell was placed in the shipping box as well. Ever since this little black beauty arrived I’ve haven’t been able to use anything else. I’ve spurned all more former favorites. Even if this one is dirty I’ll quickly wash it out and use it again versus grabbing a clean one. Hexing your branded merchandise to make it irresistible; that’s brilliant marketing, y’all.
And no, it’s not simply because it’s new. Or because it’s associated with an author I already like. It’s a silky feeling. Elegant in an old-school vampire movie kind of way. Remember how old-fashioned vampires wore tuxedos and were impeccably groomed, from hair to hands to debonair manners? They wined and dined us before they seduced us back then. They were charming. Dashing. Refined. Sexy. And they didn’t make a bloody mess of us the way new-school vampires do. They kept it classy. That’s the enchantment of this little cup. Perhaps the ghosts in the store did it? To say thanks? Either way, Bravo Jenny.
Another great place to find ghost folk besides rainy days and bookstores? Old picnic tables. Not the metal kind. Wooden. Warped. Weathered down to moldy grooves kind of old. I recently found one under a tree near my office. I was looking for a quiet place to read. We have no break room and I recently lost the empty office space I was using for yoga. Searching out a space to relax away from my desk I found this relic listing to port in the grass under a tree. It swayed beneath me but I trusted it to hold and it did. But it was not quiet. Because I was not alone.
Once it was obvious I was a Friendly, out came the Ladies Who Once Lunched and I had to abandon my book. My thighs give me away every time. All those years running in skirts, I guess. My aura must be strongest below the waist. My thighs signal something affable to residents of the spirit world. As soon as they hit the wooden seat there was a flurry of paranormal activity. You may have to deal with some crusty bird shit and the occasional crawling creature, but it is so worth it. In my experience, the older the table, the better the gossip.
But wait, there’s more. You want a serious ghost magnet? Throw a parade. Any kind of a parade. This is where all the sad ghosts go (come) and I have no idea why. You want to flush out the ghosts of unhappiness? Block traffic and send a parade down Main Street. Or any street. Sad ghosts flock to parades and if you are standing in the crowd with friendly thighs, you can feel them saturate the sidelines. Around you, behind you, beside you, across the street. And if you’re me, you cry. Every damn time. Happy parade, happy people, happy music, happy occasion, but I’m choking up.
And it’s not a happy cry. It’s the kind of sympathy cry which wells up whenever someone else is crying in your presence. Empathy cry, maybe? The first time it happened to me it was just a small town Christmas parade. Happened again at an even smaller town St. Patrick’s Day parade. Since then, every parade, even in New Orleans at the height of revelry. I have no explanation. I have only my reaction. And the odd camaraderie of shared sadness in the middle of merriment.
I’ve never once felt anything but stoic at a funeral procession but schedule a marching joy fest with floats and banners and high school bands, and I’m toast. It’s the ghosts. It doesn’t even have to be a small town. Last weekend it was a big city Pride parade. Happy event. Happy friends. Happy atmosphere. Happy flags. Sad ghosts. They overwhelm me emotionally. Not long after the grand marshal passes in a convertible the sad ghost onlookers multiply until they make me cry. And then it passes. I don’t know if the sad ghosts disperse or if the parades cheer them up, but it passes.
It’s a foggy morning here in Mercyburg. The sun is up but the fog will not be burned away. It’s the stubborn kind of fog. Intentional fog. Conspiratorial fog designed to keep me home a little longer. It whispers in Lauren Hutton’s voice. You can play tennis after lunch, Mercy. Stay put. Write things. Write these things. It’s good for you. So I do. Only an asshole argues with Lauren Hutton’s voice. Or the fog is an asshole-dampening spell.
My plans are postponed. I light the soy candles and plug in the fairy lights and put on the pewter poncho I bought in the basement of a haunted hotel. Fill my vampire cup. Laptop warming my friendly thighs. Conjure the scent of cedar. Link up Jenny’s bookstore to share the love. Ingredients in a potion, these are. Elements of devotion, these are.
Good days are made of such things.
Wellness is made of such things.