Snail Trainer by artist Kelly Vivanco
Love liberates the heart from cages of fear one latch at a time.
What do you still fear… unless you have arrived?
There are phobias for everything from fear of heights…to snakes…to water…to fire…to spiders…to fear of committing the unpardonable sin… to fear of death…to fear of poetry – that’s right, fear of poetry, known as metrophobia.
I had an aunt who developed keraunophobia from having witnessed a child struck and killed by lightning. She wasn’t just uneasy during storms; she was overcome with panic: shrieking, cringing, and ducking with every roar of sky, every crash of thunder, every bolt of lightning.
My black lab is also afflicted with this – and a fear of fireworks too. But he reacts by creeping up with anxious eyes and trying to hide his large self under our feet, akin to a dinosaur trying to hide behind a lamppost. (Remember Danny and the Dinosaur?)
A girl we knew had an irrational fear of clowns. At a birthday party we attended she dashed off and cowered in the next room… until the clown went away. That’s when I discovered the meaning of coulrophobia.
Tachophobia: the fear of speeds.
In my poem The Journey I refer to my distain for the fast lane. The nightmare of fifty car pile-ups and ambulance sirens. By no means am I a clinical case; nonetheless I still feel anxious on the freeway. With good reason…
Horns and motors, the rush of traffic, lights that hold you still in the middle of it all. Your heart pumping while you breathe deep and say your prayers…and remember why you despise the fast lane… Cricket, your mother-in-law, was killed by a drunk driver. July 31st, 1993.
Ever since you’ve loathed the whole scene, of being at the mercy of speed freaks. And you won’t go there unless you must.
Fear of open spaces
or of being in crowded, public places like markets.
Fear of leaving a safe place.
A moment turned nightmare. A wide open space swarming with strangers rushing by or walking aimless. You stare down at your slow feet as folks whoosh past, bags in hand.
Sunlight pours through sky roof, the bright part of the day.
Stores galore, elevators, escalators, restaurants and more. A food court, an Apple Store, a thousand shops to browse. You fight to keep your soul intact amid the madding crowd. But you lose it at the escalator while the world steps aboard the magic carpet and soars away.
You stand at the foot, rooted and still, frozen by a cloudburst of emotion. Because you can’t keep up the pace. Because you aren’t wired to race.
So you know why God made snails: to take life easy, take life slow… and to stick to their shells until it’s time to let go.
What do you fear or feel anxious about?