“FEAR is an acronym in the English language for “False Evidence Appearing Real” ~ Neale Donald
Several mornings a week my friend Connie and I enjoy an early morning walk on our gravel road. Buster, Connie’s dog-child, takes the four-mile walk with us. Since we live in the country, Buster is often allowed to run free.
To say that Connie is protective of her black Labrador is an understatement. So when I mentioned I saw some stray pooches sniffing around my trashcan, poor Buster paid the price and had to stay leashed to protect him from a possible dogfight. All during the walk we kept an eye out for the strays.
Then, on the last mile of our return home Connie slowed and squinted. “What’s that?”
I followed her gaze. Way down the road it appeared something, actually several somethings, were standing on both sides of the road. However, it was so far away I couldn’t tell exactly what.
Connie squinted again. “Oh, no. It is those dogs. Look how big they are.” She pulled Buster close. “I can’t walk by them with him. Those big dogs will attack him.”
I looked again. Some did look the same color of a couple of the dogs I had seen. “What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know.” She lead Buster up a dirt driveway to put even more distance between him and danger. “I’m calling a neighbor and ask her to come get us.”
While she dialed I walked back to the road to see if the dogs were still there. Yep. But I noticed something odd. For the most part, they stood still, only taking a step now and then. Very un-dog like. I walked closer. It looked like they were sniffing, but standing in the same place. Again, very unlike a dog. I walked closer and watched. One crossed the road. The gait of the animal looked very familiar.
The animal in question caught sight of me and held its head to where I could make out the ears sticking straight out on either side of its head. That walk, those ears, told me all I needed to know.
I turned toward Connie who was feverishly trying to find someone to come to our rescue and yelled, “Connie, those are not dogs. They are cows.”
“Cows? I don’t think so. Are you sure?” She continued to punch numbers.
“Connie I’m positive. Those are definitely cows.”
By now she had a neighbor on the phone. She continued to talk as she walked closer and looked. A big smile spread on her face. She confessed to the neighbor, whom she had woken up, that what she had thought were ferocious dogs were actually young cows that had somehow escaped through the fence. After apologizing she hung up.
We laughed for a moment and then she glanced at me. “I suppose you are going to write about this.”
She knows me well. “Yep.”
I thought about the quote I had put on my Facebook page just before I left the house to walk with Connie. “FEAR is an acronym in the English language for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Little did I know that in less than an hour this bit of wisdom would be perfectly illustrated.
We were on the lookout for stray dogs. We saw something unfamiliar and immediately assumed the worse. Then, under this wrong assumption we began taking unnecessary actions.
So many times in life, I do the same. I expect the worst and when a situation arises I assume the worst and on that false assumption I take wrong actions that usually involve others.
Today the cows reminded me to stay calm, take a deeper look, and get a clear understanding of what is really true.
Once again, I learned at nature’s knee.