Driving home, tires hissing over wet pavement and windshield wipers swicking rain away. To the left, north, an inky blackness from whence the rain comes and the odd soft sheet of lightning. To the left, south, the almost-full moon is half-in and half-out of the clouds, so that they are silvery and illuminated and reveal the langourous line of the hills beneath them. I don’t know if this energy thrumming through me comes from the lightning, or if it comes from me and perhaps I’m the storm-conjurer.
I am costumed, having just guided a tour through the quiet streets of a prairie town weaving a dark web of tales of hauntings and unsolved murders and sicknesses that stole whole families away. I have summoned ghosts, both paranormal and metaphorical, to try to tell a story about a past I can never know, try as I might. Is it morbid that it exhilarates me so?
I am dressed up as if to be someone else, because it helps me quell my natural shyness. I don the garb of a role, that of the storyteller, so that I can distance myself from myself and thus have the courage to perform. But now, still dressed up, I wonder if this isn’t the real me, too?
And so, wearing an assemblage entirely unsuited to this Wednesday night on a dark, damp and obscure prairie road, and as I feel this strange energy coursing through me, I have to wonder, in this land of the sun, why I am so stimulated by its darkness. As I drive along, I see two does in the ditch, in time to slow down and make sure they won’t jump out in front. There’s a jack rabbit bouncing along beside me, and several birds startle up and away, flushed out by my headlights. The night is teeming with life, as usual. And once again I feel the words swirling around in my head, demanding to be let out, to be given form. Always in the night, it seems. Strange, considering I talk so often about chasing the light. Perhaps that’s why the night is so fruitful for me. Because I don’t need to chase it at all. It comes to me as an equal.