Now I know why mountains draw me in more than the ocean. May be for that reason I rush to the Himalayas whenever I get a chance. An absolute stillness overwhelms the constantly chirping mind. I am at peace. The majestic tranquility tells me there’s nothing to fear. Why don’t the sea waters tell me that? Why do the waves pose as huge tongues to lap me up?


Is that why I love trees? Because they don’t run about and roar like the ever hungry Bengal tigers? Imagine a pine tree standing its ground in storms! Even grasses delve deep quietly into the dark soil. I find shelter in such grand stillness.


Isn’t movement graceful? Isn’t sound delightful? What is life but a rhythm with note. What’s better? To be the silver screen or the movies it shows? Or the spectator; participating in all the smiles and tears yet keeping a safe distance from the happenings simultaneously. What’s so fearsome about movement?


Yet I fear. I prefer a staircase but an escalator? Never. There’s a fear of fall that works within. Haven’t I fallen countless times when trying to ride a bicycle in my younger days? Didn’t I enjoy every struggle-moment to get onto the seat? Or am I growing a spectator mode within me? And fear is helping me to getting into that. Age is feeding the fear factor; or may be it has made me more cautious.


Life has brought me here and I don’t intend to change now. I see how every sunrise and sundown roll towards me wave like. I have neither closed my eyes nor shut my ears at their crashing and challenging noise. I don’t bathe but watch and await the grander stillness.



290 words for Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: A Pantry of Prose, #3 ~ Phobias and Fears @ Poets United


17 thoughts on “Fear

  1. Mountains and trees! I love them too. We have plenty of trees nearby but no mountains. I’m of the same mind about stairs and escalators, although my asthma doesn’t like stairs so much.

  2. So very true. Mountains do not pose the same threats that oceans do. The sea can be quite ominous indeed with its waves posing as huge tongues. I have always been very cautious when I have been near an ocean for just that reason. I like the last paragraph with the mention of sunrise and sunsets rolling toward you like a wave – the cycle of life until the end of our time.

  3. This is incredibly poignant, Sumana ❤️ I remember … I was never able to ride a bicycle without falling when I was younger and have fallen once on the escalator due to mis-management of suitcases.

  4. Sumana, this piece doesn’t only give us the narrator perspective on fear, but I think that it also shows us what courage looks like to her. I have never believed that being brave is rushing for things that scare us, screaming like a berserker (well, not unless that works for the person in question), and hoping to do or die. That would be terribly limited, methinks–dangerous, too. Bravery comes with intelligence and critical thinking. This narrator understands why she fears what she fears. And she doesn’t truly run from it, but finds a way to experience it in safety… While, at the same time, exploring the things that ground her, that make her Self stronger. I love the way her mind works–it’s healthy, it’s honest, it chooses what feels right.

  5. I love that you find shelter in such grand stillness. I cant think of anything more majestic than the Himalayas. I, too, have become ever the spectator, the Observer, as i age, it is peaceful, stepping back from all the angst and drama of others. I felt very peaceful reading this, Sumana.

  6. I have to say I’m far more comfortable in the hills of Pennsylvania than the ocean. There is something about it that strikes a primal dread in me. I like the way the protagonist leans into the fear, not denying it but owning it. It’s something I will keep in mind too.

  7. I love this writing Sumana. I’m drawn to the stillness of my mountains too, thought they don’t compare to the grandeur of the Himalayas. I like how you describe dawn and sunset as a wave. You also made me realize that I too am afraid of the ocean, though not because of the noise of waves, but because of its vastness and power. Maybe I’ll write about that sometime.

  8. This was fascinating–the idea of fears growing more solid over time (something I’ve definitely experienced with enclosed spaces) but also the balance of being more aware of what and where peace can be found.

  9. Since I was born under the mountain, I long for the sea–but I’ve never known the raging floods that are possible–for me it’s the rhythm, the certainty of it. But escalators? and earthquakes? I have total fear! These story images are as vivid as your poetry. I especially love “Is that why I love trees? Because they don’t run about and roar like the ever hungry Bengal tigers?” Now, after reading, I crave the stillness of mountains, and pray my father is climbing to the top for the stillness he might find there.

  10. Your prose reads like poetry, Sumana. It’s heighten imagery and emotional effect is a joy to read. I can see why an elevator evokes fear, it sometimes feels like to being swept by a wave. Such brilliant comparison! But more importantly I like how the narrator reconciles with fear, and is happy to stay on solid ground…”find[ing] shelter in such grand stillness.”

    Like the narrator, I prefer mountains than ocean though I’m not afraid of water as such. There’s a certain preoccupation with water / ocean in African culture, which often lies with water being sacred or a great fear. Some writers depict this underlying fear as something that dates back to days of slave trade. Food for though!

  11. How good it is to learn of the love you have for your mountains and trees and the rest. It is good to find somewhere we belong and become attached to as it give us so much satisfaction and peace.

  12. I can so relate to this Sumana. There is a solid and save foundation in mountains and trees, that the ocean does not provide. This whole piece of beautiful prose is poignant and truly lovely.

  13. I have learned so many lessons from trees. I learned to ride a bicycle with so many tumbles and bruises, but let me face an escalator and I immediately begin to pray, “Don’t let me fall.”

Thank You :)

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