Copyright 2021 by Lew Goddard
Photo (c) 2020 by Richard Loller
a true story of an experience in the wilds of
Washington state in the 1980ís
have found me sitting on a huge rock in the middle of my Uncleís
acreage in the dark. Indeed, it was after midnight.
happened during this interlude was unexpected.
sky was completely clear and the moon shone in splendor such that if
I had a novel, I could have read it with the light. It seemed larger
than normal over that hillside in Washington State specifically in
the western foothills of the Kettle River Range. I estimated that the
elevation was near thirty-five hundred feet above sea level.
original intention was to walk approximately three quarters of a mile
to the south of my Uncleís residence to the foot of a hill that
beckoned me to climb. When I reached my destination at its foot I was
out of breath. That prompted me to find a place to sit down.
were ample large rocks to rest on and I chose the one at hand. A few
minutes later I found I was quite uncomfortable with something
crawling all over me. Coincidentally, I had chosen the home of Ants
by the thousands. I had to move.
feet away, I found a different resting place and searched it and
around the immediate area. No ants. The height of this particular
rock was better and seemingly more comfortable to sit on.
was no sound except for my heart beat. The silence was not something
I was familiar with, coming from a large city some nine hundred miles
away. It seemed as if it had paralyzed me. I sat quietly immobile. I
was lost in the vast silence.
the west, I was able to see a valley and a highway. The headlights on
the occasional vehicle looked like fireflies in the forest. From
where I sat it was probably five miles to the highway in the river
vantage point allowed unequaled parameters of surveillance. Isolation
is comforting if you are happy within and enjoying the amenities of
the area. Lack of sound surrounded me.
Uncle told me that there were no bears in the region but I didnít
know for sure. The rifle lay across my lap.
donít know how long I sat as if in a trance when I heard
something behind me resembling the sound of something brushing
against a tree branch. I did not move.
movement appeared peripherally, but I didnít move. A Deer, then
two appeared. A Buck and a Doe slowly walked to my right, not more
than twenty-five feet from me.
Buck with his impressive rack stopped and stared at me. He shook his
head and made a snorting sound but he didnít move any further.
The Doe behind him also stared. It seemed like forever, that constant
stare. They obviously knew that there was something wrong. Of course,
I knew they could smell my scent and probably wondered why I didnít
move. My imagination knew that it was not long before they moved but
it seemed like several minutes.
Buck turned his head and directly back to stare at me again.
Surprisingly, they slowly moved a few feet, then stopped and looked
at me again. He dipped his head and pulled the wild grass into his
mouth and chewed. This was so plain because the moon was so bright. I
realized that I had been holding my breath and let it go.
Unfortunately, thatís all it took for the Deer to move swiftly
into the forest and gone from sight.
they felt no danger I will never know but, it was an experience that
I will never forget.
Crow created a sound as if it was changing positions in the nest. Yet
another part of the silence and the forest.
flash of lightning caught my eye. Another range of mountains to the
west flared with the light. It must have been twenty or so miles
distant because I heard no thunder.
twinkled like millions of space ships in the air. Formations that we
are familiar with and are named were plainly visible. It is utterly
amazing to know that there are a multitude of space stars and
planets. The mind-boggling immensity cannot be fathomed by the human
is beyond what we can see? If we had a space vehicle that would never
run out of fuel, would we fly forever?
sound arose from behind me somewhere in the forest. At first it was
just a sigh and it resembled tumbling water. I imagined that the wind
had an identity and far away on a mountain it reared back and forced
out huge mouthful of wind. It grew in intensity and I felt a breath
of wind leave the trees. The new sound was not unlike a semi-truck
rushing down the highway. The velocity increased and I could feel the
tremendous change in the atmosphere until I realized that it might be
more than wind and indeed, could be a wild mountain storm.
trek back to my holiday trailer near the residence brought heavy wind
that seemed to furl around me from all directions. The wind seemed
like it played in the clearing where I was situated. It rolled over
and by me and the forest as it rushed along. It blessed me with its
might. My baseball cap flew off my head and fortunately it ended
ahead of where I was going. The long wild grass waved like water and
the trees s braced for the onslaught.
walked with the wind until I reached my destination and it started to
release us from its fury. The atmosphere was more alive and it
I could hear it sweep into the valley until there was very little
wind where I was standing. It left me with the feeling that nature
had enjoyed this fling and the wind would come again. It was not as
silent as before but it was quiet.
mind video often looks back to that experience. It was a
once-in-a-lifetime episode so that it is indelible. It was a short
period of time but yet massive in its effects.
remains as a time that I was totally involved with nature and at
peace with the world.
the sun is red then why is the reflection on the moon and stars not
red? How far does the universe stretch out? How does the sun keep
burning and where does the fuel come from?
do stars twinkle or is that a defect in the human sight? Why do we
not collide with meteors more often?
are questions that perhaps have been answered but to the layman that
I am, I have these and many more questions).
is a true story that happened more than thirty years ago and if I go
out in the dark at any time, I can recall every moment in the
foothills of Washington.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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