Desert Places

“They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars – on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.”

Robert Frost knew his stuff. He knew about humans, about Humanity. He really did. In this stanza of his he manages to capture the feeling that lies in us all from time to time – melancholy mixed with fear. The place we don’t want to explore or acknowledge because it is frightening.

I think we are all born with light and dark in us, and it’s luck that defines which way we swing. Just as we are capable of immeasurable good, there is also potential for evil, and that is frightening.

Occasionally I find my mood sinking, and I stare testily into space. It’s like somebody is spreading some huge piece of cloth over my thoughts, casting them in shadow. I can’t help but see the worst, and reflect on the bad parts of my life. I am dragged into my ‘Desert Places’, a cynical inner narrative providing the guided tour.

This happens. I admit it. It’s hard to claw my way out of it sometimes, but I’ve managed thus far.

I would not, however, be rid of them. I think the key is understanding our darker emotions, rather than discarding them. It’s impossible to clear away bad memories entirely and we shouldn’t strive for that –  it’s what makes us. I think we can learn from each bad experience, and that those memories should stay with us until we have gained everything we can from them. At that point they can take a back seat, there to remind us what not to do.

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”

Another favourite of mine from Mr. Frost. What a man!

So self-knowledge, then. That’s what I’m trying for.

Gosh, okay, I know this was supposed to be a food blog! I think food comes into that too though, at least for me. Because of my intense relationship with eating, because I did go through the eating disorder and come out vaguely on the other side, I need to know that darkness. I need to draw on it and turn it to good. Hence all the healthy stuff and documenting it, my reasons for it, and the results of it. Self-knowledge.

On that note, my next post shall be about Date Truffles.

“Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found it was ourselves.”



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