Thursday, January 14, 2010


I would only agree that a symbolic clock is as nourishing to the intellect as a photograph of oxygen to a drowning man. ~Dr. Manhattan, "The Watchmen"

I am not the first to quote this today. It's on the lips of a lot of folks, and I find it gloriously convergent, synchronistic and serendipitous to be occurring on the day I have decided to wage a war against fear in its many forms.
It sounds quite dramatic, but really it's a very simple concept. I am afraid of a lot, and I let it stop me from doing so many things that it's amazing I leave the house. I've sidelined years' worth of projects out of fear. How would I publish them? How would I promote my artwork? How would I better my photography? Can I really knit this sweater? it has such complicated design work....
Etc. Etc. Ad nauseum, ad infinitum.
It is ridiculous how much energy I waste on being worried about things that will never happen, or that won't kill me to live through if they do. I could get so much done if that energy was going to actually ~doing~ that I refuse to even go back to that way of thinking. This is how I plan to fight that fear. I am going to ignore it. Walk past it. Shoot it the bird. Then smirk and complete my task.
I've sworn this before. I've invoked the Bene Gesserit Litany before, even. But this time I think I'm fed up enough and mature enough to take it and walk with it.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

* * *
There is something to be said for continuity and small miracles in one's life. I started this day wide awake until 4 am when I fell in to a weird half-sleep that was filled with my subconscious mind taking the ideas that had been racing through my head before (damned coffee binge)and feeding them in to my dreams. I wrote a story in 3 hours and saw the character from start to death, forging the most minute details of an alien landscape. It was not fun, but when I woke up it put me in an odd frame of mine. I'd spent so much of my time awake replaying things that I suppose my mind was empty when I finally got up.
I was first aware that something was up when I clearly heard the sound of Zen's feet on the carpet. I had never heard it before, and it surprised me. After all, footfalls on carpet don't make noise. Or, so I had assumed.
As he walked I clearly heard the brush of his footpads across the fibers, and my surprise subsided so that I noticed other small things. The pop of the house expanding in the sun and the passing sound of cars on the pavement. (Did you know that pavement rings if you drive over it fast enough?)
But in all of that silence I heard the sound of geese, and the sound of two different calls from the other geese. Zen and I turned to gaze outside. As we watched, two geese came in that looked completely different. The Canadian geese scattered and made way for two geese that were white with black margins on their wings.
Over the summer there were two strangers I noted out among the Canadian geese, which a quick review of the bird book showed to be snow geese. It didn't make much sense at the time since they were more a tan color than pure white. But in viewing the lone pair come in I realized it was the same pair from the summer, returning to the same pond with the same Canadian geese and joining the flock. After a few seconds everyone settled down and stopped honking and no further noise was made about their presence. Just like last time, it was accepted they were there and business went on as usual. I felt like I'd witnessed the closing of some odd seasonal cycle, and following the other events it seemed to me like this day was something special. I made sure to walk Zen somewhere new, and then went back later with some film cameras to take photos of the ice on the pond. I saw a great blue heron and caught a shot of him taking flight while at the pond. The ducks made way for me too, and I shot an entire roll of Lomographic Society's black and white 100 speed film, 120 format from the Holga, along with an entire roll of color 800Z Fujifilm in the Diana. I also took the iKimono along and took a few shots on the color 200 speed 110 Fujifilm I'd just snagged from the Four Corners Store. This was part of not being afraid, being willing to go out on the golf course even though I wasn't sure I should be out there (there were golfers even when it was 35 flannel with hunting caps, I might add...)and taking a bunch of photos because I wanted to see what they would look like. I was afraid I might get hit by a golf ball. I was afraid I would get in the golfer's way, or slip in to the pond where it's freezing cold, or scare away the great blue heron so it didn't get to eat. Even worse, I was afraid I would look utterly ridiculous bending over the ice to get pictures of the bubble patterns frozen deep within it. The horror! But I walked out there anyway. The golfers out on the course all smiled at me as they went past and I was in no one's day, nor was I struck by anything. I didn't fall in, and the heron? He took off, flew to the other side of the pond and landed quietly in the reeds, where he kept an eye on me and fished. The world got along just fine around me and nothing happened. It's a small step, but I consider it to be a successful opening battle.

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