Solar Solace

FullSizeRender 2 late September sunset in the Ozarks

“Some days are diamonds… some days are rocks.”  -Tom Petty

There’s no two ways around it– some days are just harder than others.  This past week has been absolutely abysmal.  I’m getting to the point where I can’t even watch the damn news– I’m consciously tuning it out like the numerous neglectful mothers I’ve witnessed ignoring their crying children in public.  I just don’t want to hear it anymore.

I’m tired of reading headlines about mass shootings and natural disasters and neo-nazis.  I’m tired of feeding my misanthropy with stories of how awful and cruel human beings can be to one another.  And I’m tired of hearing that yet another one of my heroes has died.  Social media and celebrity “news” culture has never been my thing, but it’s been impossible to ignore the in memoriam tributes over the last year or so, as it seems that damn near all of my childhood heroes are dying off.  I guess it’s just a part of growing older… I dunno.

Which is why I want to share a little beauty with everyone today.  We had a marvelous sunset here in Northwest Arkansas a few nights back– it carried a painterly quality with the colors of a Maxfield Parrish palette, so I snapped a few pics with my phone for posterity’s sake.  I’m thankful now that I did, as I’ve returned to those photos numerous times in the last few days for a fleeting moment of solace, and I’m hoping I can provide someone somewhere else the same.

IMG_5776closeup of said sunset

 

Like The Weather

The color of the sky as far as I can see is coal gray
I lift my head from the pillow and then fall again
I get a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
A quiver in my lip as if I might cry

And by the force of will my lungs are filled and so I breathe
Lately it seems this big bed is where I never leave
I get a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
A quiver in my voice as I cry

What a cold and rainy day…
Where on earth is the sun hid away?

I hear the sound of a noon bell chime, well I’m far behind
you put in ’bout half a day while here I lie
With a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
A quiver in my voice as if I might cry

What a cold and rainy day…
Where on earth is the sun hid away?

Do I need someone here to scold me?
Or do I need someone who’ll grab and pull me out of
Four poster, dull torpor pulling downward

For it’s such a long time since my better days
I say my prayers nightly, this will pass away

The color of the sky is gray as I can see through the blinds
Lift my head from the pillow and then fall again
I get a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
A quiver in my voice as if I might cry

A cold and rainy day…
Where on earth is the sun hid away?

A cold and rainy day…
I shiver, quiver, and try to wake

(apologies to 10,000 Maniacs)

 

 

Of Sunsets and Sentimentality

IMG_1874another spectacular sunset for a less than spectacular day

There’s nothing quite like a magnificent sunset to calm a man’s senses and allow him to put things into perspective for a few moments in an otherwise listless and godforsaken day.  We had a remarkable sunset last night in the Ozarks, and again tonight, and I felt like sharing my shitty iPhone pics on this blog.  It rained damn near all day yesterday (a miserable downpour worthy of building an ark), but as the sun began to sink over the horizon, the rain ceased and the sky opened up just enough to put on one hell of a show.  It was a much needed show, too.

Anymore, most of my days are spent mired in despondency and regret to a debilitating degree.  Fortunately, I’ve been busy enough at work as of late to keep my mind off of unpleasant things (idle hands and all that), but as soon as I return home and am left to my own devices, the loneliness becomes too unbearable to ignore.  I keep waiting for circumstances to change and for things to get better, or at the very least to become more palatable, but they never do.  Which is why it’s so important for someone such as myself to take the time to appreciate something as simple and powerful as a beautiful sunset.  Sometimes a sunset makes all the difference.

IMG_1887tonight’s sunset, as seen from a nursing home parking lot

For far too long now I’ve been telling myself that things could always be worse, and I’m tired of using that thought as a crutch.  Speaking of crutches, I visited my mother in the nursing home tonight, and while I was walking down the hallway of the home I witnessed an old man in a wheelchair camped out at the twenty-five cent candy machines with a cup full of quarters as if he were an old lady playing the slots.  Both of his legs were gone, likely long-since lost to diabetes.  And yet there he was, eating fistfulls of Skittles at a time.  One must have priorities, I reckoned, and I suddenly remembered my paternal grandfather, who was diabetic.  For the life of him, despite his diabetes, he couldn’t give up his favorite candy– those cheap gummy orange slices.

orangeslicesmy grandfather’s kryptonite

I loved those crappy candies when I was a kid, and I’ve always associated them with the memory of my grandfather.  He shot himself around this time some thirty years ago, which is crazy to think about.  When I wrote a post about the concept of deathdays a while back, I forgot to include that it was my grandfather who actually introduced that concept to my father.  And the older I get, the more I recognize the significance of this concept.  To every thing (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn) and a time to every purpose under heaven.  [apologies to Pete Seeger and the Byrds]