Keeping Darkness at Bay

It is pretty dark when every conversation begins with, “How cold was it at your house this morning?” The cold has been relentless. Every Snowbird who has considered flying south has done so.

Mountains? What mountains?

Mountains? What mountains?

Moisture-laden clouds well up behind the mountains to the west and there they hang – solid as a brick layer’s wall. Sometimes the wind nudges them over the peaks. The clouds tumble over the top and sink towards the valley floor where the frigid temperatures stop them cold. I took this photo yesterday. A tsunami approached and then froze fast in place. If only it had swept over the valley floor and refreshed the hay fields.

How dark? Same photo but bleaker.

How dark? Same photo but bleaker.

Sadly, we’ve had more cold than we’ve had snow. The snow that fell at the end of November is still with us – not exactly the same, but crunchier – walking on the snow is like walking on Styrofoam. It crunches; it collapses; it squeaks like mice underfoot. The drought continues, and every eye is on the mountain snowpack. Will we have irrigation water this summer and if so, how much? It’s enough to make you glad that you chose insurance sales over ranching. The days lengthen, but mood is dark.

I’ve been streaming Dexter on the computer. Dexter is dark. So dark that I question my own mental health. If you don’t know the show, let me just say that Dexter is a blood-spatter expert who works for the Miami Police Department by day and dismembers bad people by night. A lot of the time, I shut my eyes and just listen. Blood drips off the screen and onto my lap.

My therapist will want me to explain why I watch the show. I guess I am trying to understand why the character is so compelling (I cheer Dexter on: “don’t get caught… don’t get caught!) and yet, he does such evil things. Granted, Dexter was damaged in childhood and he follows a strict moral code that precludes killing “good” people, but vigilantism… taking the law into your own hands is not acceptable under any circumstances.

Pondering these issues, I was surprised this morning to read a Writers Digest article, How to Create an Antihero That Readers Love, by Jessica Page Morrell.  In the introduction, Brian Klems cautioned writers to avoid happy endings: “Fiction can, and should, mimic life, with all its messes and discomfort and disquiet. Fiction should also prove just how complicated and troubled many people are.” Along the same lines, Morrell advised writers “to shape his less-than-moral traits and acts into a profound statement about humanity.”

Those quotes pretty much sum up my attraction to Dexter. We are “complicated and troubled.” Not that I’ve considered killing anybody, but sometimes my evil twin tempts me to exhibit unbridled hostility. In an effort to moderate my anger, I find it helpful to repeat a mantra: We are all damaged… we are all damaged… we are all…                         I find that “we” (to include myself) is a good safety valve – a good bridge builder.

Bright Lights ChardI won’t be sleeping with any Conservatives, but acknowledging that we are all damaged, diminishes my antagonism. In truth, I wish I weren’t as dark as I am. I need to spend more time looking at the eye-candy in Gurney’s spring catalog. Check out the beauty of their “Bright Lights Chard.”

Gardening – one sure way of keeping the darkness at bay.

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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8 Responses to Keeping Darkness at Bay

  1. Brent Bruser says:

    So good. I spent today looking into Botanical Interests Seed Catalog. Yes, I’m damaged, or as the some author said, broken open, and yes, the garden is a big life saver. Plant on. Write on. And, be well, B

  2. Walter van Woudenberg says:

    Leonard Cohen says: “there is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in”. So a little “broken” has a silver lining.

    • timeout2 says:

      Ah… another Leonard Cohen fan. How we treasure the 2010? video of his London concert. The video is reassuring in that we are not getting older; we are only getting better. Thank you, Walter, for reminding me of this particular lyric.

  3. Richard Pohanish says:

    We are currently watching the final season of Dexter. Loved every bloody minute of the 8 seasons. It does not come close to the (actual) battlefield films we had to watch on Saturday mornings at Brooke Army Medical Center….and Dexter hasa story line to boot. Turn out the lights. D : Timeout2 Blog To: pohanishd@yahoo.com Sent: Sunday, February 9, 2014 4:03 PM Subject: [New post] Keeping Darkness at Bay

    timeout2 posted: “It is pretty dark whenevery conversation begins with, “How cold was it at your house this morning?” The cold has been relentless. Every Snowbird who hasconsidered flying south has done so. The moisture-laden clouds well up behind the mountains to”

  4. Pari says:

    Oh Lord Doris, you have succumbed to the effects of February. If there is one month that I would prefer to somewhere else, it is February. Even if I had wanted to escape over the weekend it would have been impossible. A 150 foot long drift of hard packed snow more than two feet deep closed the county road.
    The only recourse is to visit the garden beds, dream of fresh produce and burn a virgin or two in the local volcano – if I could only find a virgin or two. ~P

  5. timeout2 says:

    I love your homesteading blog, Pari. As for the drifts, I went out to take photos Saturday, turned down Macy Lane, passed a car that was stuck, passed a truck that was off the road, and passed a snow plow in the ditch. Turning around was not an option. Drove through white-out and made tracks along what I hoped was the road. As for your comment about finding a sacrificial virgin, your comments reminded me of a great short story: “Praying to the Rain God.” If I can find it, I’ll see that you get it.

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