I think we underestimate the dangerous spell of “safe.”
“Safe” is why centuries of humans have relished the tale of Rapunzel, a perfect princess locked in a stone tower with only her golden braid dangling tantalizingly from the window. “Safe” is why we’re enchanted by Ariel and her eagerness to escape her watery dungeon; “safe” is the thing she forgoes when she breaks the ocean surface that her companions have always treated as a sturdy ceiling despite its fluidity. “Safe” is why the Beast’s dying rose stands perched in a sparkling bell jar, as if that layer of glass might prevent its inevitable wilting.
“Safe” is alluring. “Safe” is gorgeousness in view but out of touch, sheltered in a thin glaze of immaculate protection.
“Safe” is why I stopped to admire these tiny fenced-in flowers on an arbitrary Brooklyn street. I was charmed by the bittersweet beauty of the bright red blooms behind barbs, where no one but their owner could smell their sweetness or feel their velveteen petals or see their shimmering freckles of pollen.
I can’t stop thinking about the barbed wires and glass covers and stone walls that we build up around ourselves and the things we love.