Andi Cumbo - Writer, Editor, Online Writing Courses, Classes & Lessons

In the Face of Fear

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It made me a woman of landscape and weather. – Eloise Klein Healy

My brother and I sit on the porch, our legs dangling against the side.  Cotton blend shorts, t-shirts, and blonde heads mirroring us to each other.  We are waiting.  2795365370

A storm is coming, and we are ready.

Dad is somewhere in the yard, our weather patron, the man who leads us through puddles up to our knees, who hears the thunder and gets out our jackets.

The wind blows harder, gustier, making the pines and hemlocks bend on this North Carolina mountain.  I feel the glee rising with the charge of the air.

Then, we are lifted, just a bit, off the dark brown boards of the porch.  Picked up and put down.

I think we probably laughed out loud.

***

I’m not sure what exactly made me fairly brave.  My dad’s fearlessness. My mother’s ability to bite back her own fear when we were near.

I’m not a daredevil or an adrenaline junky.  I don’t seek the fear and then overcome it.

But when it rolls toward me in waves, I usually brace myself and take it full in the face.  It’s the only way I really know.

Sometimes, I get bowled over, caught up in the torrent of it, bowed by tears and anxiety and long hours in the wee morning when I can’t find my way through.

But even then, I push on.  I can’t really turn away, even when to do so might be good for me.

I like to make decisions quickly and then live with the consequences. I like to put my work out there and then brace for the response.  I like to stand while the wind of a mountain storm comes roaring over our farm and feel the ice lash of those first, huge raindrops.

This is not to say I am fearless.  I am not. I tremble in the tips of my fingers when I write something controversial, when I post something about gun control (I really don’t know how we can continue to argue that we shouldn’t limit access to those weapons) to Facebook, when I write about white privilege and hear the shame and pain and anger and confusion from people I  care about.

I am not fearless.  But I know how to survive a storm.

***

Later that childhood night, after we’d dried off in big fluffy towels and taken to the couch with all of our stuffed animals, the news told us that a rare tornado had come through our mountain town.

I like to think we road the wind.

What do you do in the face of fear?

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Author: Andi

I am a writer, editor, and writing teacher whose most recent book, The Slaves Have Names, tells the story of the people who were enslaved on the plantation where I was raised. When I'm not working, my husband and I are working to make our small farm - God's Whisper Farm - a retreat here at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Terri Hadley-Ward

    Beautiful post, Andi! I think riding the wind is really all we can do when the storm surrounds us. Ride it, knowing that our willingness to surrender will strengthen us and lead us to grace.

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      Beautifully said, Terri. Thank you.

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