It wasn't until the collie's teeth chattered that I remembered my own shaking. When I saw her reaction, I wasn't sure how to parse it—was she afraid of me, was it neurological? She was the doorway for another event apparently lost; empathy for the dog moved to empathy for my own life and a moment I had thought of as pointless became alive. I hadn't realized that fear was part of that night, a possibility in a swirl that didn't quite take a shape. And the long ago, commonplace night stepped forward and became wonderful merely because I looked at it.
Some of the stories came to seem heartbreaking. I had a spinster great aunt, Mary, a women of verve, fond of hats and outings to the Melbourne Cup, the famous horse race. She had a secret; she had been left at the altar, pregnant, and her baby was raised by a cousin who pretended to be the mother. Aunt Mary asked my sister to bring what would have been Mary’s grandson home with her to play. My sister, to whom the request was inexplicable, said, “Oh I don’t know him well enough for that.” I suppose the absence of that child turned into all the cups of tea and kindnesses she gave to me, the wood I cut for her, the jam she made from the green gages in her yard, which I picked for her. If I had known I would have wanted to help, might have befriended the kid and brought him around. But there wasn’t a way for us to know, the only hint was that Mary made odd requests from time to time and was very sympathetic to children.
Not Believing The Expected Thing
Difficult times are freeing because then the things we only thought we cared about are taken from us. They no longer burden us. I noticed this as a child when some older kids from a gang broke my nose. Once I had escaped and the bleeding stopped, I wondered what to do, but there wasn’t much I needed to do. I tried telling myself what a big thing had happened but it hadn’t, really. There was a kind of release, I wasn’t afraid of being beaten any more, the moments parsed themselves, the afternoon unfolded and went on. A similar example happened when someone cut me off, and I spun out a car. I was at the center of time, which stretched as trees and buildings turned around me; I was happy in the ‘oh it’s this’. Then my little car came to rest and I wondered what to do and how much outrage would be suitable. The other car was gone, and even the spinning seemed far in the past. I just drove off.
3. Is there a difference between dread and fear for you? Are there other emotions that you don't like to look at?
4. What is it like when you have been afraid of something and then not afraid?
5. What does your light look like? How do you know it?
6. What does it feel like to have confidence in yourself, in your light? What is a time when you have noticed that confidence recently?