I finished No Country for Old Men late last night, a bitter wind hitting the house from the north and west. Even though the pages turned lightly, I felt such heaviness as I finished the book and trundled off to the cold bedroom. The earthy decency of Sheriff Bell, his complex simplicity (a well lit oxymoron), and his longing for times that can’t be revived, all combined to produce in me a bit of “what’s the use” sentiment. His kind of man stands no chance against an eerily logical automaton. Then, I lay down and started to think about how cleverly McCarthy uses grand metaphors. What was he really saying, amidst all the bloodshed, the inhumane expression, the greed? Could there be more to this than meets the half-closed eye?
For some reason, this winter has found me feeling older, something I’ve never considered possible. I’ve always been able to go and go without much thought as to speed or lack of it. But one night last week, I forgot three fairly important domestic tasks before retiring. A grand slam of forgetfulness. It hit me hard. Last night, while trying to pull some optimism from between the lines of No Country, I failed. I was tired, I felt old and sad, and I simply gave up and fell asleep. Maybe this is how Sheriff Bell felt, the fate of us all, the coldness that settles down in the middle years, the hint of what’s to come.