Fear of the Unknown

Photogrief / Photogrief : Eleanor Haley

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She watches the smaller children playing on the beach. Running, delighted, back and forth, up and down the shoreline.  Some approach the waters cautiously like little birds with their tiny stick legs, while others stand firm in the surf like chubby little warriors slathered in sunscreen warpaint.  They tease the waters saying, “you can’t get me,” and the waters answer back, “just watch me try.” 

 They dance with the ocean, getting just close enough to stay on their feet. Each time the cold blanket of deep blue threatens to step on their bare toes, they retreat up the beach to the safety of warmer and softer sand. Except for every once in a while when the ocean shows the children what it’s capable of by sending a wave much larger and faster than the last. The water rushes in, sweeps up some unsuspecting child, tosses them around in the wave’s white cap, and crashes them back down on land.

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She, the onlooker, watches as the ocean waters lap onto the sand, innocently inviting beachgoers to come in and play. She’s always been uneasy about the world beyond the break, so she can’t help but be fearful of the ocean’s game.  The vast waters are beautiful, she will admit; breathtaking and powerful, wise and old. And she thinks maybe it would be incredible to dive in and journey to a place where people are as breathless as they are weightless…but still, she wants no part of it.


Some people tell her not to fear the unknown; to face it with courage and to revel in all that is exquisite about the experience, but she doesn’t think she agrees. Why eagerly embrace the unfamiliar beauty of a new world when she hasn’t tired of landscape in front of her? Although she might find amazing things in this next new place, none can ease her fear and sadness at the thought of leaving all she loves in the world behind.

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