Darkness Was Coming


Doing taxes. As you might imagine, I am thrilled to support the proposed expansion of our fighting forces, along with the gutting of the arts and numerous programs that support the most vulnerable and marginalized among us. Oh, and the wall, of course, in both its literal and figurative manifestations.  Sometimes I can’t help but imagine what we could accomplish if we weren’t so damn scared all the time. Now back to our usual programming: 

Another drive, another hitchhiker, this one younger than the last, pear-shaped and out-of-breath, hands scrubbed so pink I couldn’t stop looking at them. He worked third shift at a mental health facility, but was on his way to a mid-day meeting. He’d worked the night before, grabbed an hour of sleep before sticking his thumb out, and was scheduled to work the night approaching. “It’s a good job,” he said. I understood then that the softness of his physique cloaked an inner strength, and I was glad I’d picked him up.

Later, in the almost-evening, I helped my younger son at the barn where he and his brother – on this day, at home sick – do chores twice weekly. The farmer had dehorned the heifers that afternoon, and the surrounding walls were streaked with blood, it ran down the animals’ faces in rivulets, dripped thickly onto the bedding below. The cows lapped grain off the concrete floor, 30 of them lapping and chewing in unison, a beautiful sound, almost meditative, and I knew I’d heard that sound before, not just in the barn, but somewhere else, too. Then, finally, I placed it: Rain on a tin roof. How strange.

On the drive home, the car thick with the smell of shit and hay and blood, the boy and I ate ice-cream sandwiches. Darkness was coming and snow began to fall.

45 thoughts on “Darkness Was Coming”

  1. That’s a lot all rolled into one post – blood, ice cream, and the stress of taxes. Quite a different barn image from the one I experienced yesterday. When we went to pick up our milk, the farmer had something to show my daughter – a 3 day old calf with the sweetest face, snuggly wrapped in a quilted coat and standing contentedly beside her enormous mother. Her name? The same as my daughter’s.

  2. Blessings to you all. I still have unwavering faith that light will prevail, despite walls, marginalization, dehorning, etc. If anyone ever doubts that, best thing to do, turn off the TV and go meet real people, like the man you picked up on the road, like a young girl I met yesterday who went out of her way to help with something, like the lady of the cottage I rented, who offered all her trust and help, like homeschooling parents who teach my kids and give 110% in all they do. Under Communism arts were marginalized and if any were allowed, they were strictly controlled and scrubbed with fine-tooth comb. Yet, the spirit never died.

    1. I listen to the news. Topics currently being covered are the London terrorist attacks, the threat posed by the nut-job leader of North Korea, and the escalating number of “opiate orphans”. An aversion to the measures being taken to protect our country doesn’t make any sense to me. Nobody is taking away your crayons. There are bigger issues at stake.

    2. News breaks are incredibly healthy. I am well aware of the evils of the world and when I can help I do. When I can’t it can be come overwhelming. Fear is how most countries like to scare people into submission. I prefer rational thought and better discussions on how to deal with certain issues. Drug abuse, mental illness, those are real matters, but art is too as it can heal those in pain. The bigger picture never seems to be considered by those in power.

  3. Noticing and listening. Seems so simple, yet the world would be a much better place if more practiced those two words. Thanks for not only doing both, but also sharing.

  4. Blessings to the golden hearted mental health workers who come in all shapes & sizes. Blessings to the golden hearted writers who come in all shapes & sizes. Where would we be without you?

  5. If it makes you feel any better, a small percentage of your taxes helps pay my salary, and enables me to read your blog from a work computer. And if I happen to slide you a few bucks via the generosity enabler, that helps you pay your taxes. It’s all just one big circle, my friend.

  6. There are so many good things in this post, I’m not sure how to comment adequately. So, I’ll just say “thank you.” And, I hope you get a big, fat refund. 🙂

  7. I suspect that the readership here joins me in appreciating this photo, prone as I am to be clueless about the readership. Evident: humility, documents strewn as if discarded, left sock slipping with a lesser grip than that of the hay on the shirt. How could a mother of such a toiler avoid putting such a photo on her fridge?

  8. I want to comment on the rest of your post but I can’t get past that photo and the urge it evokes to offer you a pillow or footrest or something…

  9. I agree, the wall is too expensive.

    If we really want to get rid of undocumented aliens, we need to treat them like any other vermin, by taking away their food supply.

    No employment = no income = no food = incentive to move elsewhere

      1. There aren’t enough Native Americans left in the U.S. to drive out the legal citizens, so that is a non-starter. I have no gripe with documented aliens, only with the undocumented, who are all criminals by the fact that they are undocumented.

        Actually, I’d like to see the employment of an undocumented alien become a felony. I believe that far fewer people would employ them if the penalty for doing so was a felony and there was a very harsh fine for each incident.

      2. Please note, I’m anti-criminal, not anti any specific ethnic group. Undocumented aliens are all criminals, regardless of where they come from, once they come across the border without proper documentation. It seems like a simple concept, “documented = good/legal, while undocumented = bad/illegal”.

        Comparing undocumented aliens in the U.S. with Holocaust victims is nothing more than a lie. All people in the U.S. are protected under existing law, even undocumented aliens. I just want to see those laws vigorously enforced such that a large portion of the estimated 12,000,000 undocumented aliens are encouraged to their countries of origin.

        I’d apologize to Ben if I’d done anything wrong, but all I was doing was expending on his point about how a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is just an expensive boondoggle that won’t make the problem go away. Ben knows how to reach out to me if he is sufficiently annoyed with anything that I’ve posted.

      3. How is anyone a criminal for merely being born on the planet they were born on? Borders are imaginary and are prone only to the Collective Consciousness of Humanity. You’re falling victim to buying into the idea that the governments of the world haven’t been working with Extraterrestrials for a long time and thus have been withholding the solutions, through their silence, that we need to provide for all of us without any problems. There’s always a higher solution and exclusion being relative to subventitiousness is never the answer.

      4. Who brought the holocaust into this?? Genocide exists outside of WW2 Germany, unfortunately. Bosnia, Armenia, Native Americans, to name a few….

    1. That logic doesn’t work, Jeff, because as you very well know from personal experiences, these people steal and rob for their food. Night after night robbing and stealing, some nights doing double runs. I’d like you to consider that wall again. God has given us Trump to save us. And Trump wants that wall. I think the Good Lord is testing you. He wants to see if you really love Trump with a godly love. Show him you do, Jeff. Reveal your big-sized Holy Spirit. Give to the wall!!. Help pay for that wall! If you help pay for that wall, it will be less expensive. Or a bit higher.

      1. I think that the majority of undocumented aliens are hard working people who are in the U.S. to earn a living and support their families. However, despite their good intentions, their undocumented status makes them criminals who should be dealt with within the scope of existing laws. I would just like to see vigorous enforcement of existing laws and the seizure of assets to help pay for the cost of catching, holding, adjudicating, and deporting undocumented aliens. The meat packing industry in Nebraska would suffer and there would almost certainly be a trickle down of unintended consequences, but the good, enforcement of existing laws, outweighs the bad, damage to some sectors of the economy like meat packing, lawn care, and construction.

        Every Friday night there are long lines of people at the local Wal-Mart sending money out of the U.S. I suspect that many of them are undocumented and would easily be taken into custody if ICE was directed to do so. Low hanging fruit as they say.

      2. Not to mention the obvs- Latin Americans, especially Mexicans *are* in fact Native Americans with some Euro-colonial blood mixed in. I think “vermin” is overused, when you make others sub-human the genocide is so much easier to pull off.
        The immigration debate is silly: when white guys work that hard, doing nasty jobs, then they will no longer want to rush the border. Same problem with Syrians pre-war over here, Poles in Germany, you get the idea.
        I’ve got loads of So Cal experience with immigrants and super wealthy white neighborhoods: I am one of those uptight white people turned all wild and liberal and God- forbid reproducing with the enemy 😉

        Apologies to Ben if this is rude, in his space. Peace.

      3. Plough Monday, … “We will always be considerate. We will always be gentle. We will remember people’s names and respect their ideas”…
        At least you were kind enough to capitalize.

      1. Agreed. I am probably a little hard line on this issue as it is one that I feel strongly about and don’t see how we, as a Country, can justify a variable enforcement policy of immigration laws that are currently on the books. Either enforce them to the letter of the law or change them, but I think that it is a gross disservice to everyone if law enforcement agencies are given the latitude to enforce them in an ambiguous/inconsistent manner.

    1. What we need to do is enforce existing laws or change them if they have become obsolete.

      For example, the war on recreational drugs in the U.S. is just as much a hopeless quest as was the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. from 1920 to 1933. It would probably be better for recreational drug users if the manufacture, distribution, and sale of those drugs was regulated by some division of the Federal Government.

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