Help! There’s a Menacing Blob in the Backyard!

scary shadow, maggie mcreynolds blogI’m seriously nearsighted. Have been ever since I was a kid. So at night, when I took off my glasses and lay in bed looking out the window, the normal, everyday stuff of my backyard was transformed into something purely terrifying.

The swing set became a surreal giant arthropod. The Weber grill, a man crouched next to the back door. Every bush and shrub took on a menacing shape: a bear, a hulking monster, the mean lady down the street who hated our dog.

The thing is, everything in the backyard was just as it had been in the daylight, when I’d had my glasses on. All that had changed was my perception of it. Lost in the darkness, blinded by my own myopia, I could and did work myself into a complete state of panic over things that weren’t even there.

I wear contact lenses now, and I am often too tired when I take them out to spend much time gazing out at the backyard. But I can still scare myself quite easily when I find myself, lost and temporarily nearsighted, in the darkness of pain, anger, depression, or fear.

And I can do it, if I so choose, with the stuff that’s in my metaphorical backyard: my bank account. My health. My love life. My child’s intermittent willingness to practice the piano.

What’s in your backyard? What does it look like to you when you are calm, grounded, hopeful—in the light? What does it look like during darker moments, when you are frightened, lonely, feeling stuck, feeling sad?

A thought to hang onto, during those dark moments when everything seems awful and bleak: everything is just as it was during the daytime. And even the darkest, longest night eventually ends with the return of the sun.

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