Last year, around December, I began a slow burning pine session for the Northeast and New England. Especially for its stunning Autumns and snowy winters. Home from Dallas, finishing final papers and decompressing from a semester of no free time for entertainment, I started watching Gilmore Girls, set in Connecticut. It may be the one television show I have watched from beginning to end.
While I'm not always enamored of the developments and characters, I am usually deeply satisfied with the supposed geographic setting and the references to places such as Cape Cod, Boston, and New York. Watching this show has filled some deep internal longings for home, small towns with old institutions, long-term female relationships, and the smell of dried leaves.
A recently viewed episode yielded a surprising treat. Sparks (and, not shown here, a still intact Sonic Youth) in Stars Hollow, slightly akin to the many towns on Cape Cod I got to know each summer while visiting my Grandmother. According to these lyrics, the olfactory sense is the sense that strongly evokes memories of the past. It's true.
I have been feeding my hunger for the northern effect in other ways. Higher consumption levels of maple products, apples, and squash based meals accommodate some sensual needs while films, especially 70s/80s Halloween and horror, help re-ignite memories. A wood-fire scented candle would bring it all together.
Elvira: Mistress of Darkness, 1988, with Cassandra Peterson.
Set in Massachusetts, famous for its witch trials, this is a flick I've been watching since childhood. Upon a recent re-watch, I realized how much this contributed to my feminist, hedonist adult character and was glad to see that it still holds up.
Eraserhead, 1977, David Lynch.
Drab tones reminiscent of cold days walking with a purpose in Philadelphia or Providence, Rhode Island.
For reading in a time travel vortex created by a hot bath, John Demos' The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America, 1994, gets me close to the colonial New England landscape. My imagination takes me to something like this magical picture of abandoned mills on Erie Canal which I captured during a sad occasion trip one year ago.
Dreaming of another chance next year, to breathe in the crisp air and taste cider doughnuts. For now I will screw the past, and appreciate the tropical storms, rockabilly bayou terror, and rich Mexican traditions found throughout the Texas-style season.
Alex, Jamie, and Goose Halloweenie by Maria-Elisa Heg, 2015.