It’s been a view for the imagination…
Easy, even in a well-lit and heated apartment, to imagine why and how this weak and, consequently, fearful primate we are would huddle around a fireplace, enjoy the company of others, and let the blankness and swirling of the cold fog become the canvas on which stories of just what may be lurking out there are told.
There be monsters.
You have to venture out into the damp cold, you better not go far. Wild animals may threaten you. Spirits may roam. Go far, and you may lose your path and never find back. Have the trail disappear beneath your feet, the flat land look all the same everywhere, the forest lure you into its depth and swallow you up.
Sit in the comfortable warmth and safe walls, though, and the imagined danger makes for a sensual tickling down your spine, speaking to atavistic impulses while the higher level of consciousness tells you it’s all right, you’re safe. Benign masochism, excitingly safe thrills.
We still seem to be acting like that, and have got even better at making ourselves comfortable, making things convenient for us, and letting us be entertained by stories that get ever more elaborate to hide how empty they are.
Learn more, though, develop skills, and the exploration out into the fog is just the thing to still give you a chill, all the while knowing that you will handle it well.
It’s the very balance we’re always maneuvering around, between comfort that is good to have in order to recover and learn in it, and comfort that numbs and weakens us. Fear that is a sign of actual danger we should heed, and fear that is numbing and maybe just wrong. Stories of strangers and the strange that are warnings with purpose, and stranger danger that just isn’t true and holds us back from learning and creating the adventure we seek.
In balance, dynamic and sensible, it’s the darkness that makes the light all the nicer, the fog that hides and makes the uncovered all the clearer…