Outside the Pale

I’ve opened my computer several times previously today so that I could write a blog post, but each time, I’ve played a few games of solitaire and then closed the computer.

Almost anything I want to say about the situation in the world today would put me even further beyond the pale than I already am. Many of my blog readers seem to appreciate my struggles to understand the truth in light of two very different narratives being told today, but other people . . . not so much. They believe what they want to believe, and call everything that doesn’t fit in that belief system lies. Or fake news. Or however else the current lexicon defines an opposing viewpoint they consider invalid.

I did find it interesting that the tarot card I picked today said I was an intelligent and complex woman, a truthseeker, open to hearing the thoughts and opinions of others but able to filter through all the rhetoric to see what is true. It’s how I like to see myself; how I hope I really am.

Which brings me to another point — a pointed stick, in fact.

I looked up the origin of “beyond the pale,” and the “pale” (aka “pole”) was a pointed stick (or a lot of pointed sticks) indicating a boundary. This phrase has been around since the twelfth century. Apparently, when the Normans invaded Ireland, they built a palisade around Dublin to protect themselves from the barbarians who lived beyond that pale.

Considering that I have built my own “pales,” both the fence around my house and the small area I have staked for my own on the internet (this blog, of course), perhaps it is others who are beyond the pale — my pale, anyway — while I am solidly within my own pale.

We all create our pales, I suppose, beyond which lie dragons (and barbarians). The problems come not when people stray further beyond some ideolgical pale, but when they physically force themselves into someone else’s pale.

Ah, see what I did? In a roundabout way, I ended up talking about that which I didn’t want to talk about, but it really is hard not to stray into that particular pale when it is so much on my mind.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator