My heart was pounding in my chest, the grizzly slid to a stop, his claws tearing the forest floor and stood twenty feet away popping his jaws, a low growl coming from deep in his chest. For tense seconds we stood facing each other, predator verses predator, man-facing beast. My bow felt like a toothpick in my hands and the arrow was unsteady to say the least, against the riser of the bow. Finally, the old bear made a woofing sound and retreated into the dense underbrush. I look to the sky and thank the creator that the old bear and I did no have to battle here in this beautiful place. How many times have I faced danger, or been fortunate enough to survive some encounter that should have been the end of me? Climbing a shear rock cliff with no ropes should have been my demise, swollen rivers, breaking wild horses, and battles with men in my youth has put my life on the line on more than one occasion. Getting hit by a train while driving across a Montana railroad crossing most definitely should have taken me to the happy hunting grounds, but for some reason my heart still beats and my adventurous soul still craves the thrill of a good adrenaline rush once in a while. Today I faced one of my most challenging and dangerous adventures. Not like standing my ground in the face of a charging grizzly, or trying to stay on the back of a wild steed intent on destroying me. No, This is far more dangerous, one of the most terrifying moments of my life, my wife and youngest son were with me at the time, Stacey’s face had gone pale and her hands were slightly shaking, Josiah was holding absolutely still in the face of such danger and to his credit was being a brave little warrior. I admit I usually face danger with a warrior’s heart and will gladly accept whatever the creator sends my way.
My life actually flashed before my eyes, as the reflector poles slid by the car at what seemed like a far too fast speed. Oncoming cars seemed like missiles intent on slamming into the front of our car. At any moment, we expected to fell the bite of twisted metal and broken glass upon our broken bodies as the pavement greets us at sixty-five miles an hour. The seatbelts are the only comfort as we are carried over the earth in this machine of death; slowly we begin to accept the fact that we may not survive this ride across the Wyoming landscape. We each look into one another’s eyes, fear fills the interior of the car like a thick soup, the driver of our once safe and dependable family car is grinning from ear to ear, not at all concerned with our plight, or the fact that we are in absolute fear of our lives. He grips the wheel like a racecar driver and seems oblivious of the fact that he holds such power over our fate. He looks towards me with his toothy grin and says, “Thanks dad for letting me drive.” like a rain cloud blowing across the plains the fear is suddenly lifted, and the sunlight shines down through the heavens. We may yet die in a fiery car crash, but the chance to share the experience of learning to drive with our teenage son as he enters into yet another realm of adult hood is worth the chances taken. I do now try to see the faces of fellow motorists as I drive my old truck down the roadways, whenever I see a grinning youth at the wheel and the pasty faces of their passengers in the interior I say a silent prayer for them and wish them a safe journey. Hawk a/ho