Retreat of The Black Dog

I have so much to write about in Clairetrude’s Corner.  Some people may be wondering whether I made it to Scotland, or indeed, if I have returned.

Well here I am, in my Hereford den, poised to relate my adventures.  But the black dog has sought to hound me yet again, and that is why my WordPress Tartan Trilogy is still wrapped in its box in my cerebral attic.

I have stolen the black dog metaphor from Winston Churchill because I cannot produce a better one.  The hound appears from nowhere, hungry for your soul, thirsty for your life-blood.  When you wake up and espy the beast lying at your bedside you cannot escape from him.  Loyal as any hound, he follows you wherever you go, and finds his way into the core of your being.  In many ways you become the black dog which is haunting you. 

Shortly after my return from Scotland I learned that my grandmother had died.  I thought that I was coping fairly well with my grief until the black dog bit my ankles and brought me down.  Once I was on the ground with his hot breath pumping into my face, I could not get up again. 

Over time I have learned that the black dog is not something to fight.  He is stronger than I am, and could kill me with one snap of his jaws.  Whenever I feel those iron jaws upon me, despite my instinct to fight him off I must reach out to caress and soothe him.  As my fingers plunge into his black fur I know that I have to accept this unwelcome visitor.  For an unspecified period I will be sharing my life with him – a semi-feral beast who would not be averse to eating me for dinner.  If I allow him to stay and treat him with wary respect, I have a better chance of staying alive.  For being no ordinary hound, eventually he will tire of me and wander away.  The black dog likes to wander. 

As I write, the black hound still lurks nearby but he appears to be retreating.  As soon as I feel some space between the beast and myself I crawl onto my knees and examine my wounds.  The bites have been severe this time, but they are not fatal. 

I know that as soon as I regain some inner-strength and optimism he will slide away into the shadows.  When I become master of myself, I am master of him also.

So the Tartan Trilogy may well appear fairly soon if the black dog continues his retreat.  But right now he is still skulking between me and my mental archives, and I do not wish to lose my fingers.

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6 comments on “Retreat of The Black Dog

  1. Think Pigeon says:

    We will wait until you’re ready to tell us about your Scottish adventure. No pressure or any thing but…CAN’T WAIT. Your approach to the Black Dog sounds sensible. Though maybe you should rename it and get rid of the dog association? What about the Grey Slug? Can’t wait to see you both for a proper catch up. Let me know when you fancy it. xxx

    • Clairetrude says:

      Yes I agree that using a dog metaphor is a shame because I have beside me such a lovely faithful hound! I need a creature with legs which can move quite silently. Kafka had some great ideas! I did listen to an MR James story a while ago about a malevolent spirit in the form of a black monkey. It seemed to fit the bill but it’s quite disturbing. If I could work towards changing it to a grey slug that would be great as it’s far less insidious than a black dog or monkey! Thanks for your comments. Would love to meet up soon. Especially now I’m starting to feel sociable again…. xx

  2. Think Pigeon says:

    Gorgeous photo by the way. xx

  3. It’s hard to think of a better metaphor than a silent black dog following you everywhere. Makes me think of my favorite old story called Faust- in which the black dog in question was actually a demon in disguise. I wish you well on your journey to mastering your black dog.

    • Clairetrude says:

      I like Faust too! The black dog metaphor is very apt but I do love dogs, especially my lovely Labrador. Then again the “black dog” I refer to is hardly an average hound, and Faust springs to mind immediately. I’d love to be able to think of depression in less disturbing imagery, but maybe that’s something to work towards. NLP could come in useful here! Thanks for your good wishes.

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