Fear is an emotion of readiness. Fear and the art of being prepared link together like a nut and bolt. Fear is a warning system, a guide. The emotion of fear is a flickering whisper in your ear, a message to prepare for action in response to unfolding events. I encountered just such a messenger of fear while out on my daily walk. I routinely walk along the salt marshes near my art studio. This nature preserve is home to a variety of animals. On any given day, I might enjoy the company of a variety of marsh birds, ground squirrels or if I am lucky, a jack rabbit.
On this particular walk, I enjoyed the company of a small light brown jackrabbit. As I scanned the salt marshes along my walk, I spotted her – lovely brown fur and big round ears. She stood still and erect scanning the horizon for predators. I felt a ripple of awe and fear as I saw her out in the open field, vulnerable and pensive. I continued my walk and saw her again this time further out in the distance. Her ears bobbed up and down through the tall dry brush as she made her way forward. I felt her rapid breathing and quivering nose. I guessed that she could smell me coming down the path as the wind blew my scent in her direction. She did a quick dance of bob and sweep, followed by a full stop. Again she would start, stop, and wait. Was this jack rabbit a signal for me about the recent changes I was going through? Was it time to stop and focus with clarity? Or was it time to act and move consciously to a new chapter in my life?
I stopped and came out of my reverie and came back to the present. That is when I noticed I had lost sight of her. But then, just as I rounded the corner where the dirt path meets up with the asphalt bike path, I caught sight of her again. She was half hidden in the deep shadows and stiff tall grasses that encircled the marshland gate. Her big black unblinking iris gave her hiding place away. I held my breath and made a sideway glance catching a glimpse of her while I kept a slow steady pace past her hideaway. She stood facing sideways, her sweet face in silent profile. I sent her my loving kindness and gratitude for her wild beauty and message of attentiveness and focus, the gift of fear.
Post Script; The image of "Marshland" above is an original watercolor on Claybord by Donna M. Wocher copyright 2018.