I used to harbor a deep fear that the Indians were going to scalp me.
That probably sounds ridiculous to anyone who didn’t grow up across the valley from Zane Caverns where war drums can be heard at various times of the year. Maybe it sounds ridiculous even if you did grow up within earshot of the caverns because maybe you didn’t have an older brother who was dead set on convincing you that the natives were coming for your scalp. (Brothers can be pretty doggone convincing.)
Even when I wised up and grew skeptical, arguing that if the Indians were coming they would take his scalp too, he responded with a statement so logical I lost the willpower to doubt him: “They won’t want my scalp because my hair is black like theirs. Yours is long and brown and beautiful. The Indians are going to want it.”
I take that as a compliment now, but at the time it served its intended purpose.
From that moment on, whenever the drums would start to pound in the distance, I would stick close to the house lest some Magua-lookalike would appear in my woods and come for me with bloody, outstretched hands. (This is why you don’t let small children watch The Last of the Mohicans. Cough, cough, Dad.)
And I remained confined by the boundaries of irrational fears.
Funny Fact about Fear: so much of it is, without question, irrational.
Our minds conjure up multiple scenarios and we fret and we worry and we dread all these things that never come to pass.
But they might, we think. They could.
And we confine ourselves to the same kind of boundaries I set for myself as a child.
Don’t leave the house. Stay away from the woods. They’re out there waiting, but you’re safe here. If you remain behind closed doors, they won’t find you.
As a child, I resented those festivals at the caverns. I resented them because I loved the woods. I loved climbing trees and splashing in the creek and painting tablets of slate with the juice of wild berries.
I resented the drums that played in the distance because they crafted fears that held me captive indoors when my little feet wanted to create a rhythm of my own, pounding down paths that had been carved by a thousand footsteps that had gone before.
But I was never brave enough to chance the woods when the Indians were on the warpath. I was never reckless enough to face my fears head-on.
Then I got a little older and discovered that the drums were a performance, the natives were friendly, and my scalp was never in any danger after all. And once I realized all of that, something strange happened…
I learned to love those drums.
And the same rhythm that once struck fear into my heart became music to my ears.
Some of us will spend our whole lives believing the natives are hostile. Some of us will never step outside the four walls of our homes because we’re afraid of what lurks in the woods.
But we are restless.
Though our fears may strap us down, the fact remains that, deep inside, We. Are. Restless.
And we want more than these safe little walls offer.
We want the world.
We want wide open skies and and an endless path before us, brimming with new things just waiting to be discovered.
Darling, you have two choices when those drums start pounding in the distance: you can hide, or you can dance.
I hope you dance in complete abandon, twirling to the beat of your fears.