I have to stop saying I got up early, because truth is, getting up before 5 is now very much my norm. In fact, I am sure if I wasn’t releasing all the kitties and have everyone fed by 5:20, they would probably assume the old man finally died.

So, yes, by 5:45 I was on my way to St Pete armed with my camera and a cup of coffee. OK, hang on … I will also have to stop saying “cup of coffee” because all my blogs have me traveling with one within arms reach.

Anyway, this morning I selected Demens Landings as my port of call. I had only been there once before and it was a good shoot, so I figured “why not?”.

I was on the interstate talking to myself (there’e no one else to talk to at that time of the morning) and I noticed I was pronouncing it like demons, instead of de-mens which is how I think it is supposed to be pronounced.

It was this pronunciation that determined the blog today, but I will come back to that in a moment.

It was a wonderfully fresh morning and even though the sky was a bit too clear for a nice sunrise, the shots ended up pretty decent. I have put some at the end of the blog and hope you enjoy!

So driving away, I was totally invigorated. It was a wonderful way to start a day, but I gradually returned to my train of thought from the drive down to St Pete.

This is the problem with a long drive (it was about an hour) … is that I end up with a lot of thinking time.

I began with a recognition that I have so many demons in my closet that I need to take out a self-storage unit for the overflow. It is dreadful and something that I am genuinely unhappy with myself about.

These demons come in a variety of shapes and sizes and their main goal in life is to make a person feel bad or feel guilty over something. They are generally not around when we are doing that something. No, they wait until it is too late to stop yourself and they come in afterwards and make you feel miserable about it.

Demons generally come with conscience … you open up a fresh box of conscience and lo and behold a few demons jump into your bowl. They should have a warning on the outside of the box – Beware, Demons Inside.

Of course, being raised in an Irish catholic country, having a conscience is ingrained into each and every child at an early age. If you have impure thoughts, feel guilty. If you touch yourself, feel guilty. If you murder a few english tourists, feel guilty.

It’s all designed to get you into the confession box so that you can share all your dirty thoughts or doings with an old man in a black dress.

Hell, the catholics had the guilt thing perfected so well, that newborn babies are born sinners. The moment they breathed their first gulp of air, they are sinners and unless baptized they can’t enter heaven. How sordid is that? Have you any idea how many parents of newborn children who died before baptism were faced with their children dying as sinners and therefore ineligible for heaven?

But on the good side, these demons and the conscience they spring from are an important mechanism for making us humans better social animals. The demons remind us that we do nothing with impunity; that there is a consequence for every action. And if we don’t pay for it, then someone or some other creature does.

I know a few people who have no demons. They go through life as though they are perfect creatures that never do anything wrong. They apologize for nothing. And they never learn.

And due to their lack of demons, they also tend not to be very empathetic folk. They are unable to identify with the poor, the old, the infirm. They tend to be very black and white in their interpretations of things and their way is always the correct way. They tend to be very militant and unforgiving (yet invariably profess to follow a god that was all about forgiveness).

So when we talk of demons to those kind of folk, they tend to identify the demons as others. People who have an abortion, people who wear masks, people who educate children about racial inequity, black people, and of course, immigrants.

Unfortunately, I am one of those (well, several of those actually) so that might go someway to explaining where my demons come from.

It must be because I am a sinner. Bless me father, it is 50 years since my last confession.

No, the truth is that I have demons because I am not perfect. And I know that I am not perfect.

I like to think that I try to get better each year in certain ways, but I am not sure that is even true. Does living longer mean that we become better as we get older? Nope, sorry!

It just means we have been around longer opening up boxes and letting the demons runs riot inside us.

Eventually, do the demons just drag us away screaming at death, into the shadows like in the movie Ghost?

Perhaps that’s where they got the idea for that, but they got it wrong. The demons weren’t in the shadows waiting for us to die, they were within us all the time.

Demons and our conscience are likely the last things within us as we say goodbye to this world. As the outer world shuts down and we are left alone in our head with our thoughts, do the demons invade and remind us of all the things we did wrong? Do we lie there wishing we could have done differently?

They talk about our lives flashing before us, as we are on our way out, so unless you are a republican then you probably are going to question yourself and be forced to examine what you did and didn’t do.

And that brings me to the real point of this train of thought. The things we did right, the lives we touched and the loves we shared. These are not just the things we did with good conscience. These are the things we did that impacted others around us in a positive way while we were alive.

These are the things that gave value to our lives having been lived.

Sure, there will be things we didn’t get to, or mistakes we made. But we are merely human and therefore flawed. And that’s ok. The demons know that.

That’s why, the bit of that movie off-camera that we didn’t see, was the demon putting his arm around the dead guy, saying “it’s ok, you did your best.”

You did, didn’t you?

… just a thought.