Archive for January 2nd, 2010

Don’t let the sun go down…

I’ve just got back from walking the dogs in the top field, giving them one last opportunity to burn off their energy before we are confined to toilet duty by the tractor til morning.

They raced through the stream and let their momentum carry them up the steep slope, until they gradually slowed and then stopped, pretending to sniff for rabbits, but in reality they were surreptitiously catching their breath!

And then they were off, first left, then under the gate and away!

I grinned and followed them, giving them a few moments of freedom before whistling them back.

As they hurled themselves through space to be the first to come back (which was a first in itself), I turned and watched the sun begin its downward descent behind the hills, its orange light illuminating the horizon. As hilltops and sun came ever closer, it seemed for a moment that there was no distinction between earth and sky, that those who stood on distant slopes were surely consumed by that great ball of fire.

And then the brilliant light faded, and instead of feeling regret that I didn’t have my camera to capture such wonder, instead of cajoling the dogs to step aside from their canine existence and share the sight with me, I found myself thinking about every b-grade horror movie I watched in my teens. You know, the one where the protagonist has to reach the spooky castle / haunted house / manor by sunset, where he (never she!) has to race the setting the sun.

And I found myself thinking that no matter what frightens us, no matter what has power over us, during the day we can, if we choose, hold it at bay. There are people to distract us, things to do, chores that need doing … and light to banish even the darkest shadow.

But when the light fades, our fears creep forward, slowly, slowly, slowly … until they surround us. And there they wait until the shadows become the darkness.

And at that point I confess that I fled from the setting sun, calling the dogs after me as I walked a little too quickly down the hillside, clipping their leads on at the stream and made full speed for the house, telling myself that the steps I could hear were my own.

And now I am curled up on the sofa feeling rather foolish, refusing to draw the curtains against the ever-encroaching dusk as that will be an admission that I was getting up close and personal with some bricks…

Perchance to dream

So … after a wonderfully relaxing day yesterday, I had the longest night’s sleep that has come my way for several weeks. Eight hours! There are some nights I’ve only managed two, so you can imagine how desperate my body was for the opportunity to close my eyes and sleeeeep.

It’s just a shame that (a) I fell asleep whilst watching David Tennant’s last episode as The Doctor on iPlayer and (b) those eight hours were filled with nightmares, all of which I can recall in vivid technicolour.

On the one hand, dreams, whether good or bad, are just brain farts, a way for the subconscious to sort out the day’s events, but …

Good dreams are wonderfully comforting, a bit like reading a well-loved book or watching a favourite film. The memory warms you like a mug of coffee on a cold day.

Nightmares, however, have an irrational hold on the waking mind. They lurk in the shadows, waiting, waiting… and then, when you relax your guard for even a moment, they raise a cold finger and run it down your spine, inject a snapshot into your brain, force you to replay your greatest fears. Your breath catches in your throat, your heart races, your muscles tense, ready to spring away.

But there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

And then its grip slips, you pull away, shake your head, return to the real world where a dream is a dream and is a million miles away. And you rationalise, reconcile, say “brain farts” because it makes you smile.

But you know it’s there, lurking in the shadows, waiting, just waiting…