This is from our bedroom window, just a few minutes ago – at 9 in the morning.

I used to put up decorative flags. Oh, I still have them all, but since we moved to Santa Fe, I haven’t put them up. Decorative flags somehow just look wrong on an adobe-style house. But on our old house in Wyoming, I’d change the flags every two weeks or so. I don’t know that anyone cared but me. Still, it was a way to celebrate the changing of the seasons, the passing of holidays. This weekend I would have taken down the flag with the New Year’s sparkly champagne glasses and put up the silkscreen one with the wolves.

Something about early January makes me think of the scavenging wolves, their distant howls on the long, cold nights. Now there are coyotes out my window. One had a rabbit. The long-ago peasant in me wants to stoke the fire and bar the door.

It’s easy to let fears hold us back, reasonable or not. Every time we set foot outside our safe homes, we risk the wolves. Or, so our atavistic selves tell us. The adrenal system doesn’t know wolves from business meetings – it just hears that we’re stressed and fires up.

Some friends and I started up a new venture on January 1 – the Word Whores – and I put up my first post yesterday, explaining why I’d identify myself as a whore in front of all the world. It felt scary and uncertain. Was that a wolf calling in the distance? The last line was maybe too much, too over the edge. I may be bold, but rarely brash. My grandmother’s voice reminded me to be a lady. Being tacky was her greatest sin.

Worse, none of my usual writing buddies were around to consult with me. I wanted someone to tell me it wasn’t too much. I needed to get the post up.

I actually dithered and I really hate dithering.

So I hit the button. PUBLISH POST. There it went, into the immortality of nothing-ever-truly-dies-on-the-internet. Scary, but also liberating. Something like ten minutes later, one of my friends came back from making breakfast, read it and gave me the thumbs up. By then I didn’t need it. I’d made my choice. There’s always strength in a decision made, I think.

I might get criticized yet. The scavengers are always hungry. But I won’t hide in my house.

The world belongs to me, too.