Quiet Desperation

The sun comes up, and here we go again


The sun comes up right behind Sue and Andy’s house. At least that’s what it looks like from where I am.

They live directly across the street and have an even better view than I do because they’re closer.

Most of the time, sunrise is a post card. That’s because we live in Colorado. Not one of the grim Midwestern states I grew up in where the sun never seems to be around in the morning, especially in the winter.

The sunrise horizon behind Sue and Andy’s is coral and blue with some red-orange.

If I haven’t read the paper, turned on the television or my computer, life looks pretty good, and until I do any of those things, I am pleasant to be around.

Life in its simplest terms at sunrise, sunset, next to a forest or an ocean, or on an innocuous suburban Denver street of lookalike houses in a community once besmirched by National Geographic is — what’s a good word? — magnificent.

Then the bipeds come along and ruin things. Why?

The answer I’ve heard my entire life is “human nature.”

William Golding wrote a book titled “Lord of the Flies” about a bunch of British boys stranded on an island.

By the end of the book, the boys have divided up into two groups: one that is mostly cooperative and the other that has reverted to primitive and savage behavior.

Sound familiar?

It’s lauded as an insightful study of “rational and emotional reactions, and morality and immorality.”

That sums up the conflicting headlines in the morning paper.

Nevertheless, I press on with coffee and Harry at my side, turning the pages, knowing some horror awaits.

There are horrors right here in Colorado, across the country, and around the world, some in places I’ve never heard of until recently.

Why do I read the newspaper? Or turn on the television? Or the computer?

Some people don’t.

Who are these people?

Since you’re reading this, you are not one of them.

Maybe you know someone who is uninformed. Are they blissful?

Being around someone who didn’t know what was going on might be difficult for me. What am I talking about? I spend twenty-four hours a day with a dachshund.

You’ve seen “Harvey,” starring Jimmy Stewart? His character, Elwood P. Dowd, is a very likable man who lives in his own little world with plenty of martinis and an imaginary friend.

Nothing seems to bother Dowd. And those around him begin to see things differently, are more positive and optimistic, and experience life with less anger, anxiety, and depression.

A Denver woman, Mary Chase, wrote the play. The film’s running time is 104 minutes.

For 104 minutes, I’m along for the ride. Maybe for another thirty afterwards. Then?

Then I’ll change channels and return to this world.

CNN, FOX, Boulder, Atlanta, the Chauvin trial, Ethiopia, Myanmar. Why is Georgia Georgia?

Why not just leave the U.S. flag at half-staff? It would save a lot of time. Just leave it halfway up. Bang. Pow. Boom.

I have my own antidotes. They used to come in bottles, like Dowd’s.

Facing life without bottles or an invisible rabbit takes a lot of something, doesn’t it?

Someone said, “Every sunrise begins with new eyes.”

Sunrise today was 6:36 a.m.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at ­craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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