Siege Diaries 9/9/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Do I rule my fears, or do they rule me?

Fear gets a bad rap.

I’m not talking all fears, but understanding basic fears are what risk management is built on. If you are confronted by a threat, ignoring it, denying it, or needlessly challenging it will not make it go away, nor will it make you look brave.

That’s what “ruling fears” means. It means understanding what causes them and how to manage them. It doesn’t mean they go away; quite the contrary, they’re acknowledged as being very real. Then you do the work to understand whether they’re based purely on emotion or on logic–or, like most fears, on a little of both. Only then can you address them .

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Last night, after I posted, I realized that it was the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Siege of Leningrad. Since that is, in many ways, the inspiration for the name of this blog at the moment, I thought it was worth mentioning, and of course, I had to listen to the ‘Leningrad’ Symphony. Once again I contemplate the “900 Days”. We’re somewhere around 550 days into this particular siege. One year from now, we’ll be past that 900 day mark. Maybe this will have receded by then? Maybe? But 900 days now feels like it might well be a realistic estimate.

Yes, that’s a fear. But it may well be that the reality we all want and the one we get is different, and that measures will be needed to adjust that may have been unthinkable just two years ago. I’m thinking a little of September, 2019. We made our first trip to Montreal for a symphony concert almost exactly two years ago, and then, later in the month, I went to Nashville. Now, we’ll be returning to a different world–one built on the old one, for certain, but with different concerns and worries. And Nashville seems like a dream. The days of not thinking twice before undertaking a long journey are gone. But that makes what I can do so much more poignant.

The anniversaries are manifold. We are coming up on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 (in fact, the concert I am going to on Saturday mentioned this fact). And oh, with that 20 years in the rear view mirror, we know now just how it changed the world, and particularly the US. They–we–let the terrorists win. I’m not talking about the withdrawal from Afghanistan, or any other such thing. I’m talking about how US society has turned inward and seems more interested in excoriating its own. The high-flown dreams of my youth of what the United States could be at its best are now being purposely ground into the dirt by those who are more gratified by seeing their own countrymen suffer than in serving any kind of higher purpose or noble goal.

I will likely have further thoughts on this on Saturday.

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Made it out to the Ben Dunfirth meeting; confirmed we’re on the list for Huntsman’s Harvest (in fact, spots had been pre-reserved for us because of some things going on that day). Got to see a few more folks.

Before that, stopped in at Fabricland for some star appliques to decorate a mask. On the way home, I popped in to Denninger’s — yesterday, they didn’t have any Portuguese tarts. I picked some up at Sobey’s, only to find they were obviously made by someone who had a Portuguese tart described to them, but had never actually eaten one.

One rather distressing development: The dove’s nest is empty. The mother and the chick were there as recently as when I checked the mail just before noon. Now there is no sign of either. The chick was very definitely too young to have fledged. There was no sign of any struggle.