The Fool

Courtney "CB" Brown

In Tarot, The Fool is depicted as a romantic head-in-the-clouds-type youth. They’ve set out on an adventure but packed concerningly light and (more concerningly) seem to be headed toward the ledge of a cliff. The drop could be a couple of feet or a couple hundred—who knows! The Fool doesn’t seem to mind. They don’t look down. 


“Just don’t be scared.” 


While traversing some slippery rocks over a drop to freezing cold water, my friend Keara shouted this and shrugged. She was mostly talking to herself. I could tell because after she said it, her posture changed from practically crawling to fully bipedal. Human evolution—right before my eyes! She began walking down the slope as if it was never dangerous to begin with. We got down much faster than if I had continued to chant, “Be careful!”


“It’s actually more dangerous to drive cautiously here.”


My dad said this while weaving through lanes, uncharacteristically decisive and quick. We were driving through New York City traffic for the first time. He explained that any hesitation could cause a chain reaction for all the too-close, too-fast cars around us, causing the whole dance to become out of sync and a collision more likely. I was still gripping the door, as if I could steer the car away from danger by pulling at its insides left or right.


So, is the Fool foolish? When balancing on one leg, you’re supposed to pick a spot in front of you to focus on. The farther away, the better. If you look down, you’re screwed. Maybe the “fool” knows that looking down doesn’t change the size of the cliff. Maybe they know they must move forward either way, and it’s a much easier journey if you pack light.