Friday, March 11, 2016

SOLSC #12 - Scared of the Dark

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

Scared of the Dark

The single light, attached to the house, diffused quickly into the darkness. One of my early fears was being asked to take the garbage out, get something from the truck, or collect firewood. So long as it was daylight, no problem...but after dark fell, my mind created real and imagined dangers.

I grew up at the end of a dirt road in Evergreen, Colorado. While we could see the lights of Denver from our perch at 8,400 feet, the nearest neighbor was a couple hundred feet away and on three sides were dark pine forest. Lodgepole pines dotted the walkway from the house that led to the trucks and they make a continuous swish and creak if there was any breeze at all.

My biggest fear was actually my own fault. One evening, when my little brother had been chosen as the dark's sacrifice, I told him, "Look out for raccoons dropping on your head from the trees." I had no idea that very image would haunt me for the next several years. Even today, while I generally relish the darkness of the woods, that thought briefly passes through my mind and I must choose to push it along before it takes over.

So I would prepare myself to head out into the darkness and get the job done as quickly as possible. Sometimes I sprinted out and back, arriving at the door, chest heaving and slipping inside like I was being chased. Other times, I would walk purposefully and strong, sometimes singing loudly or even roaring at the hidden terrors of the dark. On those occasions, I would return through the door with a facade of confidence to show my little brother I wasn't afraid. But nothing real materialized from my imagination or reality and after a while, my confidence became real and less imagined.

Today, my daughter is sometimes afraid of the dark. We flick on the lights in the basement, or in the hallway to her room and we walk confidently, sing songs and roar to scare away the monsters.

And I won't ever tell her anything scary about raccoons.


  1. I gravitated to your post because we live at the end of a dirt road here in the ex-burbs of Washington, DC. I can only imagine what they'd say to each other to freak out the other (and then themselves, like you and your brother) if their bedtime was later and they were just a little older. This slice made me smile--nice work!

  2. This is so great. I have always had a fear of things grabbing at my feet. If someone asked me to get something from the car, I would have to lean into the door with my feet far from the edge to be sure no one got me. I, too, did this to myself. Glad I found your blog.

  3. I can completely relate to your slice, Max. My imagination created so many monsters and bad guys in the dark for me too. (Maybe that's a reason why we are writers.) Confession...I still don't like to be outside in the dark by myself and I won't go into the basement without my dogs. Some things never change. :)

  4. It's a telling tale that what we imagine and say often comes back to bite us, like those raccoons. I love how you ended up saying your fears are gone, but now you understand and are helping Clara get rid of hers too, because you know how!

  5. This is most likely a classic fear that many people have, nice slice, you had great description!

  6. This had a great description, luckily I live in the city so I won't have to worry about ninja racoons!