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Friday, February 11, 2011

Fear Not

Recently my 10-year-old asked me what I am afraid of. Because I wanted him to know that everybody is afraid, and that it's okay to feel that way, I gave him a few examples of my own fears. "Tsunamis," I told him (a subject of my nightmares since childhood), "and my children getting lost."

What I didn't tell him is my biggest fear: the future and everything in it.

As the luminous Anne Carson wrote in The Anthrolopogy of Water, "I wanted to find one law to cover all of living. I found fear."

Maybe there are some people out there who genuinely feel no fear, even on the deepest most secret, almost unreachable, level, but so far I haven't met any.

This week I was listening to an radio interview with the nature writer Terry Tempest Williams (whose 1991 memoir Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place is astonishing), in which the writer's own words were quoted back to her: "...remember fear for what it is: a resistance to the unknown."

While the sentiment is not new, the wording struck me deeply. This is a quote with the potential to change my life, if I let it.

2 comments:

Mari said...

"...remember fear for what it is: a resistance to the unknown." This says it all for me...

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Exactly sums it up for me too.