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I Stumbled in Darkness
The Spectator
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 by Frank Shortt
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Deathly sounds permeated the Park at Grizzly Flat. Denizens of the forest rushed to and fro all around me. I wondered why the more aggressive ones did not attack me. I could not see anything; only hear the sounds, as darkness that could be cut with a knife, surrounded me. Then, awful silence, as the confused animals ran away sensing the danger behind them. I had lingered too long in the Eldorado National Forest before making my way back home.

I walked blindly through the darkness of the night! Oh, that I might have nocturnal eyes! I stumbled along, sometimes falling over upraised roots, confused and sore I cried out to anyone who could possibly hear me, “What causes all this lack of sound? Why aren’t the residents of the forest moving around anymore? “

No answer came! Gaping in fear, I saw behind me what the denizens ran away from. A red glow came through the trees, resembling lightning, but beginning to have a ghastly sound.  A red horizon told the awful story as ensuing, wailing winds, created by the moving blazes, brought hot embers my way that began to sizzle in my hair!

I could but run away from the menacing blazes that devoured everything in its path. I implored for the light of day that I could escape this awful fate. I could only cry out to the Creator of all things for mercy! I thought of Elisha of the Old Testament as he struck the water with Elijah’s mantle crying, “Where is the God of Elijah?”

The rising sun made my joy abound! I could now see that I was in familiar territory and could make my way to little Steely Creek and the safety of its cool water. Added to this were the sound of sirens and the whir of helicopter blades arriving to conquer the awful conflagration.

Why does it seem that most crises happen in total darkness causing undue stressing? The only insurance to completely extinguishing a fire is that rainclouds suddenly appear bringing an added benediction. California could surely use some of that!

(This is not written from real life but from the frustration that anyone feels as darkness consumes the night and a deadly menace lurks behind!)