12/02/2014 11:55 am ET Updated Feb 01, 2015

On Retreat

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It's humbling how fear can rearrange our eyes. This piece describes a personal example of this.

On Retreat

Walking from my cabin through the frosted grass, it's very quiet. The meetinghouse is on the hill. From the field below, I see a dog on the steps. I don't have my glasses. It looks like a Rottweiler or a Shepherd. The old fear returns. The dog is off leash and no one's around. I think about heading back and waiting till later. The dog looks my way. I'm not sure what to do. Its ears perk up. I keep climbing the hill; keep telling myself: that was then, this is now. I'm not the same person who was so afraid. But it comes back so easily. I climb the hill like years gone by till I come in view of -- where else but -- Now. As I get closer, it's clear the beast is a small mutt. I feel relieved. Cresting the hill, I can see it's Charlie. His old white face comes into focus and he recognizes me as I do him. He begins to wag his tail and waddle my way. I feel foolish and stoop beside Charlie, nuzzling my face in his.

A Question to Walk With: How is fear affecting your sight these days? Where do you think this fear in you comes from?

For more poetry for the soul, click here.

For more by Mark Nepo, click here.