Are you afraid?
There are three things I know of that people fear: death, pain, and loss. Yet those belong to the gnawing type of fear, the conscious fears. What is that fear that lies in shadows, or troubles us about the crawling of a spider? Why is such terror engendered by the lighting storm?
As a young child I remember a season of fog when the green fields would disappear under a grey veil. Never so earnestly would I wait for a chance to go outside. The foolish adults would tell us not to venture into the mists or else. Or else what, I’d think, you won’t see me. I will escape. One could be finally, wonderfully, alone in the fog, alone and free.
You would find others there, who hid in the fog. A silent apology was shared as you both quickly passed on into the desired solitude. I didn’t know what I was looking for in the fog, but I searched. It was like dreaming and walking when you went far enough, like being wrapped in a lush blanket and still enjoying the cold.
You would, contrary to all orders, find your way to the fence, the school’s boarder, and look through the chain-link into unexplored fields of blackberry bushes and long needled trees. In those days I wanted nothing more than to walk on forever in the fog, alone forever in the fog with no fences to stop me.
Now, strangely it may seem, my greatest fear back then was being alone, but the mists would work some magic within me like a siren’s song. I still feel it on a foggy day, a wanderlust for the unknown. But my childish mind never saw the dissonance. My greatest comfort was the solitude in the fog, my greatest dread being left alone.
But one foggy morning, watching a ghostlike form fade into the white horizon, I realized this dilemma. So, I made a decision. I wasn’t going to be afraid of being alone anymore, it was silly. I loved being alone. Wonder had replaced fear.