Standing still. Stopping. Preserving your energy. Feeling at peace. Feeling fear. Paralysed. Deep in thought. Stuck. Lost. Exhausted. Inhaling freedom. Taking stock. Musing. Listening. Planning. Having a break. Hiding. Waiting. Dying. Observing. Falling in love. Smiling. In pain. Breathing. Arresting. Inspired. Confused. Reflecting, Enraptured. Stunned. Intoxicated. Numb. At a loss. Wondering. Sniffing. Holding. Being held. Reaching safety. Panicking. Eating. Wounded. Grounded. Crying. Standing still.
Standing still is life and death. It sharpens our senses and calms our minds. It intensifies our emotions and shuts down our defenses. It is survival and capture. It is both passive and active. Standing still marks the beginning and the end. It involves feeling and thinking. It is when we take control but also when we give up. Standing still has a kaleidoscope of meanings.
Today I stood still and waited for a dog’s teeth to bite into my skin. It had iron legs and its breath was baking hot. I covered my head and stood still while it pranced around me growling and snapping. Its doorstop paws imprinted themselves on my chest. I was gripped by fear. Time stood still with me, but it was not my ally. I waited for the first stab of pain. I could hear my heart thumping in my ears and I smelt death.
But the dog did not bite me. In the end it scampered away, and I felt the comforting presence of Trudy by my side. My gentle Labrador brushed away my terror. I inhaled the biscuit-scent of her fur and sighed with relief. Slowly my panic subsided and I lowered my hand to stroke Trudy’s silk-purse ears. As I stood still she licked my fingers and the familiar roll of her tongue dispelled my remaining anxieties.
After a moment Trudy moved away to investigate something new. Although she was nearby and I could hear the jingling of her collar-bells, I was conscious of my vulnerability. Motionless, I listened for danger, and jumped as a group of people walked by calling their dog. I prepared myself for attack, but nothing happened. They greeted me warmly, so I smiled. We briefly exchanged doggy-talk which made me chuckle. Then Trudy came bounding back to me when she spied me retrieving a tit-bit from my pocket.
Minutes later I was alone again but this time I felt at peace. The strong breeze rushed through me refreshing my lungs and making me feel glad to be alive. Standing still I reflected upon my transformation. I seemed to have travelled along the spectrum of thoughts and emotions. Each of my senses had been stretched to the limit.
It could have turned out very differently. I cannot say whether my fear was justified but I know my head was clanging with danger claxons. In Life’s great scheme this was a minor event, yet it has made me even more conscious of my desperate fight for survival. Standing still has enabled me to consider just who I am and where I am heading. It has reminded me that I am human. I cannot control my fate, yet I can control my actions.