In Familiar Attire

People fear the unknown. They fear what they don’t understand. Unless it appears in nice attire.

I’ve seen them many times riding horses, ordering the dogs around, and hunting unarmed prey with their guns. That’s all they have against the nature, their guns and houses, dividing them from what they truly are. People are weak -their teeth are blunt, their skin bare. They cannot kill their prey with their hands nor can they survive the winter without their clothes to protect them.

But people can be smart. They are aware of their weaknesses and they think of ways to erase them. It makes them feel superior, not only to other animals but to nature as a whole. It the end, their biggest strength will make them weak. It is never wise to feel too safe.

I see a man on a horse, and a young woman riding behind him, his daughter. Confident they seem. He was not as confident that time when I showed up in front of his horse, only for a glimpse. The horse saw me, but the man couldn’t, blinded by his conceit. The horse decided to run away, as any wise animal would. The man couldn’t control him anymore. He pulled the reins but it only made the horse wilder. The man was lucky. He fell right away and the horse galloped away into the forest. The man broke his arm, but that was better than being trampled with steely hooves.

He feels safe again. He even lets his daughter ride. It was just an accident, and those don’t happen often. People trust horses. Animals are not as treacherous as they are.

So I appear to them as a horse. I am beautiful, white, with silky mane. I come out of the chilly, fresh river and offer them a ride. They are bewitched by me and the nature which is now more and more escaping their reach. They trust me. I carry them to the water and they feel happy. Then I drag them down, and they realize the mistake they have made, but they realize it far too late.

People trust a lovely horse. They think they possess it and that it exists just to serve them. They feel that the nature belongs to them. They are the ones who have the right to swim in lakes, eat their fish, and rest among the green trees. They fought for it with their intellect. But they are still weak.

People trust their possessions and believe they know all about them. They fear the unknown. They fear what they can’t understand. But the unknown sometimes appears in beautiful, familiar attire.

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The Kelpies*, a sculpture in Scotland http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/10478591/The-Kelpies-two-horse-head-sculptures-unveiled-in-Scotland.html

*A kelpie is a water spirit from Scottish mythology, though similar creatures exists elsewhere as well.

Quote for Thought: Don’t Forget You’re a Beautiful Swan

It matters nothing if one is born in a duck-yard, if one has only lain in a swan’s egg.

Hans Christian Andersen, “The Ugly Duckling”

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Picture taken by me in Bled, Slovenia.

I like how several Hans Christian Andersen’s tales deal with characters who are different, cast out, or don’t belong in their environment – “The Ugly Duckling”, “Thumbelina”, “The Silver Shilling” to name a few. And in the end, all of those characters find happiness. It is hard to be different or misunderstood, but if you are a beautiful swan inside, it eventually always shows on the outside. Everybody deserves to be who they truly are, and we should all think twice before judging someone. If anyone struggles with similar problems, I hope you these quotes might give you at least a little strength.

“All my troubles were ended, joy came back to me, for I was of good silver, and had the right stamp, and I had no more disagreeables to endure, though a hole had been bored though me, as through a false coin; but that doesn’t matter if one is not really false. One must wait for the end, and one will be righted at last – that’s my belief.” said the Shilling.

Hans Christian Andersed, “The Silver Shilling”

Quote for Thought: Who are we?

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What I saw wasn’t a ghost. It was simply – myself. I can never forget how terrified I was that night, and whenever I remember it, this thought always springs to my mind: that the most frightening thing in the world is our own self.

Haruki Murakami, “The Mirror”

(This month’s topic seems to be horror. And I’ve decided to embrace it.)

Do we really fear ourselves? Why would we? Well, people question themselves all the time. Sometimes, we are quick to say: I’d never do that. But then, can we really be sure?

I discussed this with a friend once, and we concluded that you can never be entirely sure of what you are and aren’t capable of. Your personality is created through the process of socialization, upbringing, adapting to the environment. If you were born elsewhere, would you be someone completely different? Probably. Even with the same genes, you would have different life experiences which would shape your identity in another way. Who are we then? It’s hard to say.

But let’s not go that far. Let’s stay in our own skin. Can you say for certain how you would react in an unthinkable situation, how you would react to complete shock? For example, people are said to do almost impossible things when their life is in danger. They suddenly possess survival skills they didn’t even know they had. If starving, they are capable of eating things they would find disgusting, of running faster then ever, and all different thing from The Saw (maybe not the best example, but bare with me). They are also capable of unthinkable cruelty – killing, torture, and then there are the cases when they ate each other (The Raft of the Medusa); but they can also show extreme bravery and risk their own lives to save others. What you are capable of doing can be altered by the circumstances you’re in, and those circumstances cannot always be predicted. This makes us wonder – would I show my best or my worst?

We also fear the possibility that we might lose our humanity. Dehumanisation seems to be a frequent topic in literature and films as most monsters are actually dehumanised people. We often call the people who did awful crimes “monsters”, but the fact is they are still people. What make people do evil? This question may never be answered.

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Théodore Géricault: “The Raft of Medusa” (“Le Radeau de la Méduse”) – picture taken from Wikipedia