I was spared a torrential downpour by only a few minutes this morning. After the rain is a wonderful, fresh time to be outdoors. I was lucky today.
Poor Guster the little hound was shaken by the thunder crashes that came with the passing storm. We have a "no dogs upstairs" policy in our house, which the dogs all know. When there is a thunderstorm, however, all bets are off. When I opened the door to A's room where I go to stretch in the morning, a guilty little dog whisked out past my feet and slinked down the stairs.
Many of us have irrational fears, and we have more cerebral cortex to figure them out, so I'm tolerant of other animals having them. I had a crippling fear of the dark growing up. It lasted well into adulthood, in fact. One of the things I was most vehement about in raising children was to help them avoid that kind of fear, so I worked hard to mask my own. Not always easy.
In Bill Peet's children's book, Cowardly Clyde, the title character is a fearful warhorse. At the end of the book he conquers his fear by pretending to be brave. Not a bad strategy, and I often used the same thing. I'm not sure what the basis of fear is much of the time. Fear of death, fear of nothingness, fear of pain, the unknown??
Whatever it may be, fear is a terrible state. And chronic fear can lead people to waste their lives, or submit to irrational and destructive submission or aggression. Despots and terrorists use fear as a weapon, and it works. We have to try always to resist falling under its power.
When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be
by John Keats
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact'ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think,
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.