I haven’t been running lately.
I haven’t been walking lately.
It’s just not something that I’ve been doing lately.
I haven’t been getting enough exercise.
This morning, I went for a short walk.
It felt good.
It felt familiar.
I think it felt like something I needed.
Anyway, there’s a rock that I pass on the route that I take that is a marker for someone else’s path.
It stands up…like a mid-size monolith.
It could be a bear or an alien or a misplaced bison or anything else that I wouldn’t understand in the dark…but…it’s just a rock.
I took my daughter’s dog, Boba, on a walk with me one nighttime morning a while ago when we were dogsitting him, and when we passed the rock he went crazy with terrified barking.
He didn’t understand…and he was afraid.
The rock is a common part of my experience…so I don’t really pay much attention to it.
To Boba, the rock, silhouetted in the moonlight, could have been anything.
I took him over to the rock to try and explain that it was just a rock, but even in the light of the flashlight that I carry but don’t usually use…even when he could see that it was just a large stone, turned on edge, he kept barking.
The thing that scared him when he couldn’t completely see it was just as scary in the light.
A strong explanation and all the illumination I could give him didn’t mean squat.
Maybe that’s “fear momentum”?
Even when the strange was transformed into something familiar, he couldn’t get over his feeling of dreadful and impending potential doom.
Now, if I was in India (this is an aside…but I’ll tie it in somehow), and I saw a monkey…or even a bunch of monkeys…it would be like seeing a squirrel here in the States.
I wouldn’t pay it much attention.
I’d be mad if it stole my curry, but I wouldn’t be freaked out.
But, if I was here at home and I saw a monkey out on my predawn walk, I would fricking freak.
Fricken freak-out, that is.
A monkey is not a squirrel taken out of context.
Our big dog is not a wolf.
A stone is not a threat.
I see things on the edge of what I understand all the time.
What I think is in the shadows gives me pause sometimes…but the reality of the situation isn’t often the danger that I think it is.
But…I would be scared if a squirrel was messing with me even if I’d seen a kajillion squirrels in my neighborhood over the course of a lifetime.
Familiar doesn’t always mean safe.
Boba is scared of a stone in the dark.
My comfort zone keeps danger at bay.
I will grasp the familiar like holding tight will save my life if it will keep me away from worry.
How’s that for a crappy creed?
“I promise to avoid the things I fear and don’t understand. I promise to calcify my worldview. I promise to never think about things that challenge me or expand my range of experience. I promise to distrust the people around me who don’t share my beliefs or lifestyle. My way…or the highway. In me I trust.”
Long story short, that dog barked at a stone, and I saw him do it.
Who isn’t afraid of the thing he doesn’t understand?