17 Comments

SAFE


Words have incredible power over us. Safe, home, family. All words that signify love and comfort.

Do you feel safe? That question was asked of me when i left the hospital. Did I feel safe? It was repeated after Dr. A’s accident: did I feel safe? We don’t give much thought as to whether we feel safe. It is simply a state of being.

But I thought back through my rather peripatetic life, which was at best a coming and agoing, and an expectation that I would adapt, which I always did. But did I always feel safe? Probably not.
I came along after the Lindberg baby kidnapping and murder, and it was deeply impressed upon me. I was fearful that a kidnapper lurked behind each dark corner. Yet I would deliberately dive into the biggest wave at the beach, and ride my bicycle to the top of the highest hills at Auntie’s house. Facing the devil down I suppose, to show I was just as tough. But I didn’t feel safe.

We grow older with a family we try to protect from the day to day mishaps. We carefully lock our doors and set the burglar alarm, and close up “shop” at night. Does this make us safe?

Each evening I step outside with Charlie after dusk, and watch two airplanes fly over my house on their way to the San Francisco Airport, SFO. I always smile and think to myself that their trip is nearly over. The passengers are gathering their belongings and wondering if someone will meet them or if their car is ready. They are almost home, that other warm word. They made it back safely. Do they feel safe? I hope so.

It is difficult in today’s world to keep the feeling of safety with so much that isn’t safe bombarding us. In this cozy corner of my garden, surrounded with the fruits of our labor, and knowing that we, Dr. A and me, and Charlie, are together, I can answer: yes, I feel safe.

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17 comments on “SAFE

  1. Yes, Kayti. I believe on the whole we are safe. Governments and the media would like us to feel a bit edgy and at risk of dangers lurking about. They then can make the claim they are protecting us.

    The statistics are telling us, life has never been safer.

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    • Of course you are right Gerard. Our governments do try to keep us in suspense so that they can then assure us that they are doing a great job of keeping us safe. But in the small picture, I think people are personally not feeling as safe as in the past. Too many burglaries, purse snatchngs and now large groups of thugs crashing onto the trains and terrorizing people. It makes some afraid to go for a walk in their neighborhoods. But by and large, yes, we are safer than we have been in the past as far as the government goes. .

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    • I agree. I think the media especially wants to keep us in a state of fearfulness so that we continue watching, develop an unnecessary need for news, whatever that is these days. I feel safe, but the more I see on TV and the hatred and conflict that is spread through the media, the more of an insecure feeling I have. To counteract this, I turn toward family and friends. They are, in reality, the only things I can affect. Much as I have opinions on the way our country and other are run, even my own state and county, there is so little I can do about that. I find it better to focus on what I can do something about, and those lives that are important to me.

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      • You certainly have the right philosophy Val. There is nothing we can do to correct what the government does save perhaps vote when the time comes. Although that is iffy too, proven with out last election. Life is short and the things we have of lasting value are our family and friends.

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  2. Beautiful post, Kayti. It speaks to our deepest fears and longings.

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    • It is interesting to me that even babies have inbred fear. When we see puppies who back away and draw into themselves, some people are quick to say “Oh they have been abused.” It isn’t true. What IS true is the “flight /fright” feeling which comes naturally to us as well.

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  3. Alhough it is good and proper to feel safe, especially with loved ones, – and you express this so well – safety, security and certainty are illusory and as transient as life itself.
    We tend to take them for granted. All depend on liberty and, as we know, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

    Early and provident fear is the mother of safety. – Edmund Burke.

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  4. Yes indeed. It is the fight or flight response, which is, of course as you stated, illusory. and a physiological reaction. It is what often keeps us safe in a possibly dangerous situation.
    I think that as I wrote this post, I was thinking more of the quiet, contemplative “safe” rather than some assault from outside. I began the practice of yoga sometime in the 1950’s, which has been of great help to me in a busy life.
    It is always nice to hear from you Richard.

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  5. This made me think. Yes I do feel safe most of the time, and much more so now I don’t live in the city. Sometimes I think about people who, by necessity of fortune, live their lives in continual fear and wonder how they manage. We are very lucky, us safe people. x

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  6. Such an interesting post to read now, from the heart of hurricane country. Actually, I’m not in the very heart of Harvey’s onslaught — rain, rather than wind, will be our challenge — but nonetheless, the words are heard everywhere: “Stay safe.” It’s a wish more than a command, and probably expands to something like, “I really hope you and I stay safe, and everyone else, for that matter.”

    Experience doesn’t always correlate with a sense of safety, of course. Some people I know seem fearful by nature, even though they’ve lived a secure and untroubled life. Others experience fearful events, and continue on with no apparent sense of fear. It’s always interesting when an even like Harvey is on the horizon to watch peoples’ responses. Some prepare, and go on. Others fret their time away until it’s too late.

    I tend to feel quite safe. If I didn’t, I suppose I wouldn’t do the traveling I do. But experience makes a difference, too. I’ve been mugged in Houston, faced down a burglar in Berkeley, been in an awful wreck on a Houston freeway, and had my passport claimed by a Liberian soldier who wasn’t inclined to give it back. When we have enough life experience, I think it’s easier to say, “I survived that, so I surely can survive this.”

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  7. I do feel safe for the most part, Kayti; and I found your discussion of it interesting and thought provoking. I don’t know from whence my feelings of safety flow, but I do know what interrupts them: disturbing medical news, driving mountain passes in blizzards, wandering into the wrong part of town in large, unfamiliar cities – all of them conventional causes of fear, I suppose. More and more, I think of my future with a certain amount of trepidation; I know the ways I don’t want my old age to end, but I fear I might have little to say about it.

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    • So many unplanned for health issues come with age, and though I know it does no good to let myself worry unnecessarily, I think it is natural to wonder, not fear, what to do in the event of —whatever. Friends develop severe illnesses and suddenly we hear of groups organizing to provide transportation, maintenance work, garden care, etc. People are beginning to realize that with age comes problems with independence, and none of us life to think we are not “as good’ as we used to be. It’s the fear of the unknown. Life has changed for sure. We are fortunate to live in our own home and still be able to operate independently.

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  8. I know in my little corner of the world I feel safe. What’s a potential of a missile hitting the U.S. West Coast one might think how could I possibly feel safe? Somehow in my little home all nestled away I am able to comfortably pull my covers up at night, be thankful and safely fall asleep. Thanks for thought-provoking post.

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    • Some fears of safety seem to be inborn in some children. One of my children was terrified that something horrible had happened if I happened to be a bit late to pick her up.Some have a fear of the dark. A couple of children I know need the alarm set during the night before they feel safe. In none of these cases has there been a reason for the fear. I think it is the fear of the unknown which we all have to some degree. But I feel very safe in my own little bailiwick, with husband, an alert Jack Russell Terrier, and common sense.

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