Two evenings ago Darryl and I were sitting outside on the deck at a ranch in Montana we’re visiting. Just the two of us on 310 acres, surrounded by the Swan Mountains and 2 million acres of National Forest Service wilderness land, alone with just the wildlife, miles from the nearest neighbor. This land is home to grizzly and black bears, elk, moose, deer, coyotes, wolves and more.
We enjoyed the sun until after 9:30pm, but when it finally dropped below the mountain, it became very dark, very fast. The sky was full of more stars than we’ve ever seen before. The nighthawks went to bed just after dusk and their “woo woo woo woo woo” cries were quiet. The total and complete silence was so loud it was almost surreal.
We were just soaking in the pristine wilderness and the absence of noise, when I heard a sound. “Clink”. Then more silence. Then another clink, followed by more silence. I asked Darryl to listen for it. He thought I was crazy as he was busy searching for falling stars, talking to me and missed it the first few times. But then he heard it too.
We listened and again we heard the sound of – Clink. It seems to have come from the north west of the property, deep in the woods. It sounded like the bears were playing a game of horseshoes. Clink. Then two minutes of silence before another clink.
We talked about what the noise could be. It’s not the sound of any animal that I’ve ever heard. It sounded like metal striking metal, but it’s after 11pm in the middle of nowhere, with no one else around for miles. Yet, we still hear clink, then silence then another random clink.
For nearly an hour we sat in the stillness trying to figure out the cause of the intermittent noise. We had some creative options, but couldn’t come up with any logical solution that we could agree upon. Our imaginations were running wild.
My favorite answer for the noise was a prisoner walking through the woods pulling a ball and chain. (I really shouldn’t read ghost stories at the ranch!)
The more we talked the more I eliminated every other logical excuse. I’m a very peaceful person, but I could see this imaginary prisoner in the woods in my head. It was far too real so we went inside, locked up and went to bed.
Last night we again spent time on the deck watching the last bit of light fade behind the mountains. Once the darkness settled it was less than 5 minutes before I heard it again. Clink, clink, still random timing, but more frequent than last night, and from the southwest this time. When I asked Darryl to be quiet and listen with me, he laughed and said the prisoner was back again, moving closer and closer to where we were.
As we talked more and really listened to the noise in the pitch black of the night, I started to get concerned as it appeared to be moving closer to us and becoming more frequent. I’m more cautious than normal because this is grizzly country and in the springtime, it’s full of hungry bears.
However in my mind, I couldn’t muster any logical explanation other than the prisoner in the woods walking towards us with the ball and chain. In the pitch black of the night, my mind had envisioned all of the details. So much so, that we came inside much sooner than the previous night, as the noise got closer and closer.
Once inside the house, it made me laugh to think of two adults allowing our imagination to spin such a tale of adventure. Obviously there was no escaped prisoner dragging his ball and chain- but in my mind, he was not only on this land, but was closing in on us. Well, either that or a bear coming for dinner, carrying his metal bowl and a spoon.
We had no proof, no logic, no anything- just a wild thought that created a belief, which then made us jumpy and caused us to retreat to the sanctuary of the house.
In the light of this morning, we still have no idea what created the noise. I am certain that it wasn’t an escaped prisoner, or a hungry grizzly, but we’re still uncertain what caused it. It was probably the shriek of an innocent owl or another animal I’m not familiar with. Maybe we’ll hear it again tonight and when we do find out, we’ll let you know.
More important than the source of the noise however, is the amazing power of our imagination. How many times in life do we allow the clink, clink, clink of life to scare off our dreams by imagining the worst things that could happen?
Imagine if we put the power of our mind and our imagination to work for our own good, rather than creating our own scary fairy tales. Imagine visualizing all of the blessings that are coming into our lives, in the same minute detail that we can imagine the obstacles. From that place, a world of possibility opens for us.
Tonight, instead of imagining grizzly bears or an escaped prisoner complete with ball and chain, I’m going to imagine the fairies and gnomes who live in the meadow carrying golden coins to us and dropping them into a cup just beyond the deck. Clink, clink, clink, oh yeah!
I’ll let you know what happens! :)