On this day in prior years there have been horrifically deadly cyclones, propane tanks have exploded in the midst of a crowded fairground, and of course we have killed each other for various reasons and in a variety of ways.
It is also Halloween which is a curious — and an increasingly commercial — custom organized around otherness and fear and death. In my tradition it is also known as All Hallows Eve when the community honors its dead.
Three years ago Chris Bellavita suggested I read Mary Ruefle’s essay on fear. I did not entirely agree with her, but being in conversation with Ruefle may well have changed my life. I have only realized the full impact rather recently. You can also read her essay courtesy of the Poetry magazine website.
Ruefle ends her piece with a paragraph that strikes me as especially appropriate for those of us involved in homeland security:
What has life taught me? I am much less afraid than I ever was in my youth—of everything. That is a fact. At the same time, I feel more afraid than ever. And the two, I can assure you, are not opposed but inextricably linked. I am more or less the same age Emily Dickinson was when she died. Here is what she thought: “Had we the first intimation of the Definition of Life, the calmest of us would be Lunatics!” The calm lunatic—now that is something to aspire to.
What’s on your mind related to homeland security?