Fear is to protect us from harm, not a useless emotional response...Happy New Year to all!

The Southern Yellow Billed Hornbill.
Upon awakening this morning at a late, 7:30, I bolted out of bed, scanning the bedroom walls and floors for my most dreaded creatures - The poisonous centipede.
Sunset over the Crocodile River at our newly discovered overlook.  Thanks to Louise and Danie for pointing us this location.
Since arriving in Marloth Park, one month ago as of tomorrow, we've seen only a few small centipedes. We have seen many other poisonous insects so far.
Sunset over the Crocodile River at we relaxed on the deck of the restaurant at Marloth Park Public Campground.
In our minds the centipede doesn't deserve such reverence, although they certainly serve a purpose in nature as does every creature on the face of the earth.

Last night, after returning from another delightful braai evening at the home of our new our friends, Kathy and Don, their friends Linda and Ken and cousin Sandy, we moseyed off to bed.  By the time, we crawled under the comfy covers it was 11:30.  It took me no more than 15 minutes of reading a book on my phone to begin to nod off.
At the overlook as elephants roamed the Crocodile River.
At around 1:10 am, I awoke to hear Tom moving around the bedroom. Groggy, I asked him what he was doing.  He said, "I didn't want you to see this and hoped to take care of it without you waking up."

Sitting up in bed, I saw what he meant.  There was a giant centipede, the biggest we've ever seen, on the wall near the doorway to the en suite bathroom which he'd discovered when he attempted to quietly go to the bathroom, using his flashlight, hoping not to awaken me.  My thoughtful guy.
Our first sighting, albeit it at quite a distance, the ring tailed Waterbuck.
Instantly, I got that disgusted look on my face.  I could feel my mouth turn down into a face only a mother could love - one of sheer disgust. Jumping out of bed, as Tom stood next to the centipede, ready to sweep it into the dustpan with the brush, I said, "Wait, let me get the camera!
This centipede on the wall by the bathroom door made us cringe. Tom as always, disposed of it.  Sleep didn't come easy the remainder of the night, fearful that the rains of the past few days may have brought more of these inside. 
I got the shot and seconds later Tom, brave soul that he is, swept it up and tossed it into the toilet, flushing several times.  Years ago, i saw an online photo of a snake coming up through a toilet.  At that moment, I imagined the centipede coming back up, when we least expected it, while we were on the toilet.   Most likely this is a preposterous fear.  
This ugliness may have been as much one foot, 30 cm, long.
But then, fear doesn't always make the most sense.  In the past few days, I've been reading a book, entitled, "The Paleo Manifesto, Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health" by John Durant, a fascinating read.  
As we watched the sunset, this Elephant crossed the river.
This book quotes scientific studies on both humans and animals in captivity and their horrible physical response resulting to much illness from eating conventional modern day foods, as opposed to what our DNA dictates, that which is readily available in nature in our surroundings.  Well, you know I could spend days on this topic but I won't.

In the easy-to-read scientific book, he discusses fear which we all experience each day of our lives, fear that is ingrained into our DNA over the estimated 200,000 years that man/woman has been on earth (opinions vary on this length of time).  

He explains that fear is not a pointless emotional reaction over which we have to "pull ourselves together."  Fear is in our DNA to protect us from harm.  

We fear heights, since we aren't intended to fly and harm could come to us. We fear flying in an airplane, since we're confined with no chance of escape. We fear dangerous creatures, since they have the ability to cause us serious injury or death.

Thinking in terms of the caveman, these fears protected him/her and their offspring, protecting the development of the human race.  Thus, we don't have to be ashamed of having fear.  It's a by-product of being human, deeply ingrained in our DNA.

Why are many human less fearful?  They've mentally chosen to overcome the natural instincts due to a motivating factor that supersedes the fear.  The remainder of us remains fearful in varying degrees. After all, we are different from one another.

Observing wildlife surrounding us, we see their fear to protect themselves and to preserve their destiny.  As humans, we don't criticize their fear and yet, we mock and criticize our own, often dismissing the seeming pointless fears belonging to others.  

If we accept that fear at times may be unfounded but that most often it has a basis for our self preservation and the preservation of those we love, perhaps we can become more tolerant of those with fear, embracing their natural instincts.

The author pointed out in the book the following, "Why do many people have a visceral fear of snakes, which kill only a few people each year, but not of automobiles, which kills tens of thousands of people each year?  Evolutionary theory points out that snakes were a real and deadly threat to our ancestors - but automobiles were not."

We don't walk outdoors each morning, looking at the little pink car and feel fearful.  And yet we become fearful over the appearance of a centipede.  How ironic.  Then again, there were no automobiles in the days of the caveman from which our DNA developed.

Animals have an innate fear of snakes as do most of us.  Animals we've observed in the wild, have many fears; from us, from one another, from being confined or trapped and many from forces beyond their control.  

With sensible caution, we continue on, fear being our friend, as we strive to embrace our instincts that ultimately provide us with a safe environment.

Tomorrow, we'll share the details of last night's braai at our new friend's home on the Crocodile River and tonight's New Year's Eve party at Jabula Lodge where again, we'll gather with more new friends.  

May all of you have a safe and enjoyable entry into the New Year!  And, thanks for sharing our first full year of world travel with us


Isabel@FS said...

OMG I would be sleeping with the lights on and one eye open. Those centipedes are horrible. I think I would be getting the mosquito nets but I'm sure bugs can get on them during the day when they are open and therefore get inside. Like I've said before, I'm not brave. And I totally understand not getting in the pool. It looks very inviting but for the all the reasons you stated I likely wouldn't brave it either. No you aren't picky, you know what you like and what you can tolerate and I'd rather have a nice safe shower any day. Glad you have plans to be with your new friends tonight. My hubby and I are staying home snuggling by the fire and catching up on a TV series. We prefer our own company rather than being out on the roads where people make stupid mistakes. Happy New Year to you both :)

Jessica said...

Happy New Year Isabel!

We hope you and your hubby had a nice snuggle by the fire, enjoying some relaxing TV show time. That is surely what we'd have done in our old lives. For some odd reason, we are now social butterflies and go out several evenings a week, rather odd for us. But we're loving meeting so many wonderful people here in Marloth Park. We've never seen such a friendly batch of people anywhere!

Have a peaceful restful day and a New Year filled with much love and contentment.

Warmest regards,

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