Booms

iceWhen I was a kid in South Dakota, I had the privilege of camping in the Black Hills in the dead of winter. It all started with getting prepared to endure… no, enjoy the experience of sleeping out in a tent in below zero weather.  Would the winter gear I had be enough? Wait, I didn’t think about stuff like that, I was thinking about skating across the lake, sledding, ice fishing… maybe I would catch a big trout through that little hole in the ice. What about the prospect of spending time with my friends? We were going to have a blast doing something together that very few people get to do… enjoy nature at its coldest.  

I heard that the ice could be almost 3 feet thick and that it could hold a car. I couldn’t imagine that. What would it feel like to be standing out in the middle of a huge lake… on the water? As time got closer, I got more and more excited but it seemed that my dad got more and more conscientious and spent more time preparing and making sure that everything was ready. The day came and we went. After what seemed to be an eternity, we arrived at our campsite. No people, lot’s of snow, and a lake that went on forever. A dream world…  

After a cold night below 0 degrees, sleeping in a tent and being warmed by the space heater that my dad put in… thank goodness…we got up raring to get out on the ice… well really, we just wanted to get warm first and then go out. Later in the warmth and comfort of our homes, the story to our friends would be that “it wasn’t cold” and “only the wimps couldn’t handle it”.

Warm drinks with a great breakfast… warmth returning, both the temperature type and the one that comes with well-being…what was the deep boom I just heard? Was there a cracking sound after it? What an interesting sound… I need to know what is causing it. Quickly forgetting about the sound, we run to get down to the lake and get our skates on… to the adults… “are you sure it’s safe… is the ice really that thick, even in the center?” Reassured, off we go…

The freedom of skating hits you… not like being in a skating rink but on a huge piece of ice that goes on forever with no boundaries… let’s race to the other side… go!  Ripples frozen in the ice like small waves, thinking about the fish underneath, seeing and skating over large cracks… BOOM! Heart racing, looking back to see how far we have to go to safety… BOOM….craaack! Frozen in time with huge questions on my mind… is the ice going to split…are we going to fall into the freezing cold water? Heart beating in the chest louder than anything else, unaware of the wind and snow blowing, the cold, the feeling of isolation… Stopped in time waiting for the results of the sound and cracking… nothing happening. Questions surface again… should I go back or go on?  What was that sound… a boom across the lake? It was, there’s another one… No liquid water anywhere. No cracks opening up to swallow me. Feeling the cold wind and snow, starting to feel the temperature, needing to start skating again… going on across the lake. Feeling freedom again as the booming sounds of the expanding ice go further and further into my unconsciousness until they disappear from my awareness. 

 Not all booms are true signs of upcoming disaster. Take time to analyze and react accordingly. It sure makes life simpler…

When did you over react to, what you thought was, a pending disaster just to find out it was nothing?