Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Black Dog

The black dog was back again. It was not the first time and was not even much of a surprise. But this time he was heavier than before, and the dog seemed darker, deeper.

The dog followed him, plodding along, persistent as night, and had a way of sapping attention, energy, hope even. The messages were always the same. His sad eyes said no and it's not worth it and why bother.

The worst part was that he would sit on the man and weigh him down, make it hard to move, to rise, to carry any load.

The dog put up a blockade: nothing in, nothing out. It did not matter that the sun shone or that friends stopped by. The man could not see it, was not really there to take it in. And the thoughts went round and round and spiraled down to the aching bone at the heart of him.

The dog didn't care,but seemed to like the disconnect, seemed to feed on it. It grew heavier, closer.

The man tried to outrun the dog and would speed away on his bicycle or his running shoes or in a car. The dog would fade into the distance sometimes, but would always catch up when the man had to rest.

Every once in a while the man hid in a fog of drink or he wrapped himself in the blanket of love's comforts. But the dog was stronger than all of it, and he was there, waiting, patient, hungry.

The man wondered how long the dog would stay this time, how he would hold off the heaviness. The dog would leave eventually. It always had in the past. But it showed no signs of being in a hurry this time.

It was time again to take his friend to the desk, to the canvas, to the music. The only way to shake the dog was to give to something bigger than himself, to turn darkness into something of beauty, as much as his ability would allow. The nagging anchor of the dark night lightened a bit when he found a phrase, or a line, or the right note, so he sang, and tried to dance.

This time, maybe, the dog might outlast the flickers of hope that managed to glow in the dark.

Maybe too the dance might push though the night, leaving the dog a distant shadow when the sun burst over the ridge.

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