Babes bullied me tonight until I went and did some exercise. The bastard. He must think I'm too fat or something. I couldn't face going to the gym, so I went for a bike ride along the canal to the next town. The journey is perfectly idyllic, away from the main road. There are some house boats and back gardens, but apart from that it's all green and lush, full of birdsong. It was getting slightly misty, with the smell of potential rain. Perfection all around.
So you'd think I enjoyed all this to the full, right? I must have cycled along, happily reveling in the beauty of nature. Right? Well, I did - a bit. But it also struck me that I am spending more and more of my time being scared again. I was scared of the big roads I had to cross, scared of the potential rapists/murderers hiding in the long grass, scared of the smells coming from the factory I passed (it smelled of nail varnish remover), and most of all scared of the gaggles of geese dotted along the tow path. But one of them hissed at me! Which is bloody scary. I tried to think of all of my readers out there who live in exotic places and who have lions or alligators or even dinosaurs for all I know to worry about when they venture outside their houses. It helped a little, in that I decided that if forced to choose between a roaring lion, a snapping alligator and a hissing goose, I would most definitely go for the goose. My heart and breathing still stopped for a while going through each group of them.
After a while I decided that I should stop being scared. Or, to put it more mindfully: I should recognise the fears, let them be and then let them go. I gave myself permission to put my hand on my bicycle bell when I spotted a lonely angler (they do hurt fish for sport after all), but apart from that I told myself to just enjoy the ride. I saw a rabbit running across the track and stop to look at me from the bushes, ducks admonishing their chicks ("Vera, Victor, Teresa and Mary, stay closer to me now. You remember what happened to your brother yesterday!" - I don't know why, but ducks strike me as most Catholic. Especially Belgian ducks) and what I was pretty sure was a parakeet flying right in front of my face.
Anyway, don't tell Babes but the exercise did me the world of good. I should keep doing it until I stop being scared, I suppose - or until I'm murdered. That would put a stop to it alright. Next time I go, I will meditate on the beauty of my surroundings while being kind to myself about my fears when they pop up and seeing them for what they really are: only fears. Thoughts, not reality.
This post has been included in this month's British Mummy Blogger's carnival.