Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Night Terror

This post is a departure for me.
I don't often make political statements or comment on world situations.
I choose instead to dwell in the past.
It's peaceful there.
But last night, I had an experience . . .

I’ve always thought that I lived in a safe, peaceful world.
As much as anyone could at a time when acts of terror are delivered up with our morning coffee.
Let’s face it, when one lives miles from the nearest town and many more miles from the nearest city, the chances of world-attention-grabbing incidents are few.
But last night, I had a soup├žon of what the rest of the world is enduring . . .
We are on holiday.
Suffice it to say we are deep in the Canadian north woods.
A place of few ‘civilized’ comforts.
Where an early-morning discussion of a group of Ravens or the scramble and squabble of a family of squirrels through the trees is much more likely than the reality of a newspaper or an early-morning commute.
We have been here over a week.
And in that period have witnessed—several times—the glorious and awe-inspiring fury of a summer storm, but only caught the barest whiff of the latest heinous world-wide assaults.
It has been wonderful to be able, just for a time, to let the world and its pain pass by us.
Last night, we said good-night to our neighbors and ducked inside our dependable little tent.
The usual night sounds lulled us and we settled peacefully into sleep.
Then, at 3:00 AM, I was jerked suddenly from my slumber.
Someone was screaming.
A hoarse male voice.
Screaming.
Then I heard the sounds of others.
Also shouting.
At one point, they began to chant.
Then more screaming.
And, the most terrifying of all, the pounding of dozens—could it be hundreds?— of feet on the ground.
Were they growing closer?
Okay, in this morning light, I know now that it was probably a drunken group of holidayers, maybe watching a drinking game or contest of some sort.
But at the time, in the dark of a moonless night, when one is snatched from a deep sleep to unfamiliar surroundings, the sound was terrifying.
Maybe it was because of the real and constant danger that seems to be closing in on us in these dark days.
Maybe it was my own vivid imagination.
But for a while, I felt what millions of people the world over feel every single day.
Terror.
Helplessness.
Waiting for the inevitable juggernaut of twisted power to overtake and crush us.
Unlike those peoples, I awoke in my peaceful little world.
Unscathed.
Secure.
But, just for a moment, I had a glimpse.
And my heart is now truly theirs.

18 comments:

  1. beautifully written. powerful insight.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've found myself in life-threatening situations on more than one occasion. The first time was in the tall grass on the Texas side of the Rio Grande River, hiding and listening to someone being killed probably 30 feet away. The realization that things like that really do happen never leave us. I'm grateful we're both okay. Brenda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. My. Goodness. How truly terrifying for you. Truly, it would never leave you! So grateful you lived to tell. And remember.

      Delete
  3. Beautifully written Diane. It's a scary world even in such a beautiful setting. Sometimes I think the whole world is suffering from PTSD! Glad your okay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We need these little wake-ups, don't we, Rena. PTSD? I SO agree!

      Delete
  4. Very powerful. I could feel your terror in this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So scary, Helene! I can now imagine what it must be like for those to whom it is reality!

      Delete
  5. It makes me so sad, Diane, how very much our perspective has changed. The first place we go these days is fear.
    I'm so glad you're OK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone was shooting here this morning. We could hear the shots echoing through the woods. Many. In quick succession. My perspective really has changed. In past years, I wouldn't have even thought twice about it... Now it frightens me.

      Delete
  6. I'm glad you're okay. What an insight to have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jenny! I needed the eye-opener, I think.

      Delete
  7. Absolutely beautiful post. Thanks for sharing the expanse of your emotions and for finding a nugget of truth to take with you. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A nugget I needed to take, Beth, truly.
      And thank you!

      Delete
  8. Empathy and understanding come with teeth don't they? And I am grateful for their lessons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what takes the message home, I guess, EC! But I need it!

      Delete
  9. A tiny glimpse of terror is all it takes to bring forth much sympathy for others worldwide who face it 24/7.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, River. And such a tiny glimpse. But it certainly has changed my perspective.

      Delete

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