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I Worried The Suspense Would Kill Me

February 2, 2022

I live in the Rocky Mountains. We don’t call them the Rocky Mountains, of course. The Rocky Mountains stretch from central Canada nearly to the Mexican border. Our little portion of the Rocky Mountains around Salt Lake City is called The Wasatch Range on the East side of Salt Lake and the Oquirrh Mountains on the West side of Salt Lake. (BTW, that word that you can’t pronounce is pronounced OAK-er.)

Anyway, we live in between these two mountain ranges. In fact, that’s why there IS a Great Salt Lake. It’s in a bowl surrounded by mountains. It’s beautiful here. Because of the mountains, in the mountain, before the sun actually peaks over the Wasatch, it lights up the Oquirrh Mountains. And then the line of sunlight marches East across the valley until it reaches the Wasatch peaks. Evenings are the reverse. The last thing bathed in sunlight as the sun sinks behind the Oquirrhs in the West are the majestic peaks of the Wasatch. The valley is cloaked in shadow as the sun-line climbs up the slopes the mountains to the East. The last bit of light is the highest peak.

This morning as I was headed to work, it was during the magical time where the sun-line was only half way across the valley. As I got on the freeway for my 20 mile drive to work, I made the transition from shadow to sunlight. And, it was magical. I could see across the valley and the mountains on each side. The sky was a brilliant azure blue. I felt really good.

And that’s when the panic attack happened. Well, not a full on panic attack, but definitely some nerves.

In a book or a movie, if the writer has done his (or her) job properly, they will take you to a really happy place. A place that feels safe. Possibly even a magical place. And they will hold you in that place just long enough to let the world fall apart. The soldier who finally decides to ask his girlfriend to marry him after this tour is done, will invariably die on that tour. The skier who finally masters his fear of the mountain and successfully completes a slalom run. . .will then be killed in the ensuing avalanche.

We writers are jerks that way.

So, this morning as I looked out that this perfect scene, I realized that this was where my little Toyota would be crushed by a gravel truck, or rear ended by a dump truck, or something.

It was too late to exit the freeway. I got into the far left carpool lane and checked all my mirrors and blind spots for the rest of the trip to work.

Nothing happened. But, I’m not reassured. Maybe the writer is simply letting the tension build? I’m hoping the weather is crummy tomorrow on the way to work.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

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