Monday, 2 August 2010

Moment of fear

Today I had a rare moment of fear. Pure, instinctual fear.

Near the Dragon's lair, there is an open plain with beautiful flowers and wild birds and other animals. Including untamed horses.

Making my way around the path through the large plain where the nearly two dozen horses peacefully grazed, I gently made most of them slowly turn away from me. They are not fearful of me, but with the ponies they flanked, caution was their game.

Except for a particularly large stallion.

Now, in spite of what you may believe, the Dragon is not such a big creature. I stand just above the height of the average man. And I have no idea how this horse would react to me coming closer.

In fact, it didn't react. It just kept on grazing, right on the path I was trying to follow. It stubbornly turned its back on me, telling me it was in charge, and it did not fear me one bit.

When approaching slowly didn't work, I decided to go around it. It was only a few meters through the tall grass, after all.

This caught the large horse's attention. While completely in the tall grass, realizing all too well that it would be pretty much impossible to run away in this mess, the stallion decided to approach me instead.

I was scared. My heart beat loudly as I moved quicker, while still trying to appear calm.

Five meters away it was... four... three... was it two meters, those last moments? I honestly can't tell.

At last, I reached the path again, and the stallion ceased its approach. I was relieved, but didn't wait to walk the rest of the way home.

In hindsight, I suspect that the horse was just being curious and would not have come that close before being scared away. But with a large group of animals behind it (that's a lot of horsepower), I didn't want to scare it away, lest the whole herd would run this way and that -- that would have been much more dangerous indeed.

It was a moment in which my respect for nature grew. There was honest fear, but it was not a choking terror. It was an honest fear of a creature far larger and stronger than myself. In nature, that often is all the benefit you need -- and being alone, I did not have much of a benefit.

It was a rush, and I can't wait to go back tomorrow.