November 18, 2003

By Michael Strickland

The Dying Light

I often lie awake at night, wondering if the uncommon events which I am about to relate actually happened. Rendered insomniac by their recollection, I feel as though troubled by the remnants of an unsettling dream, rather than by the memory of an all too real misfortune. For who could fathom such terrible tidings arriving on the wings of doves?

The image of the sunset that day seared into my memory, never to be forgotten. I had never had cause to call a sunset evil before, but that day taught me the meaning of "the dying of the light." Shredded clouds caught the blood-red glow of the sun's last rays, oozing like ragged wounds in the heavens. I snapped away with my SLR, thinking I might have some saleable sunset photos here, never imagining what the celluloid would reveal. A flock of pigeons flew across my field of view, silhouetted black against the dramatic light show. The shutter whirred as I composed shot after shot, using the birds as contrast against the bright subject of my photography.

As suddenly as the pigeons had appeared, they were gone. In their place, a cold wind picked up, seeming to blow the very light out of the sky. In no time, all color had bled away, leaving nothing but dusky clouds between the day's last gasp and true darkness. I quickly put my camera away, turned my collar up and moved for my car.

"Hope you enjoyed it."

I stumbled, the sudden voice startling me. From behind a dumpster, a bum stuck a curled tongue through his toothless grin. The sickly sweet smell of Mad Dog 20/20 wafted in my direction as the grizzled man spoke again. "That was the last one, you know. This is it."

I ignored the intrusion. As I got into my car, I heard him cackling to himself. "This is it! This is shit! Hee hee!" Driving away, I caught a last glimpse of him in the rear view mirror as he thrust his hands skyward like a marathon runner crossing the finish line. Writing him off as yet another crazy homeless person, I thought no more of him—until I developed my photos.

To be continued?


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

Send a Comment

November Columns:

11/28: Family Willow
11/27: Thankful
11/24: Nuclear North Korea
11/21: All Jacko, All the Time
11/20: Mantrimony
11/19: Tutankhamen: Page One
11/18: The Dying Light
11/16: Back to the Grind
11/13: Overpriced
11/12: Land's End
11/11: Veterans' Day
11/10: Cabo Bound
11/9: Supercharged
11/8: Internet Buzz
11/7: Recharged?
11/5: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
11/4: No Wiggle Room
11/1: A Week Lost in Time
Previous months in The Archive

Like what you've read?
Find more good reading on

In Association with

(and support future Daily Stricks!)