Some fears, I have found, you conquer slowly through determination. Santa Claus for example, although I might admit I still haven't quite got over it.
Other times, I've just realized one day that the thing doesn't terrify me anymore. Thunderstorms used to have me immobilized in the middle of the living room, but then suddenly, I was standing on the porch loving them. Go figure.
Either way, one of the delights of my grown up life so far, has been enough awareness to identify and overcome fears. Afraid of planes, I can choose to get a grip and walk down the aisle to buckle up. Still scared of drowning, I can decide to put on a bathing suit, walk into the lake and trust it to float me.
Or, I can learn to walk out side after dark.
First time was a restless night when I just meant to walk the orchard then go in. But the stillness of winter had me, so I went to the top of the hill and touched the tree line. I only stopped once, holding my breath in panic because I thought the thumping of my heart was something galloping across the field behind me.
Second time was when Millie and I built a snowman on Christmas Eve, while Dad blasted music through the window. It started to rain, strangely warm and we ran away from the house's lights to lie in the snow.
Then once Dad and I tried to walk off dinner by a trip up to the old bonfire site. Windy and crunchy and cold, but still quiet.
And like every other time fear goes, it leaves a present behind; this time the sight of night sky unblocked by house or trees or hill.
What surprised me wasn't the moon or stars, but the fact that when they are clouded over, they still glow. No matter what, the horizon's a muddy streak with something trying to shine from behind. The moon's a vague light, just a fuzzy spot in the darkness; but always, there is enough to see by.
Make of that what you will, but I see the pictures of those after dark excursions clearly in my head. No matter how dark, there is always a light to come home in.
And in that, a reason and hope to overcome fear.