A Scream in the Dark

Camp Sunshine

The two of us were riding horses back to our camp in the remote mountains of Wyoming. The last glimpses of the sun had disappeared leaving a glow on the low clouds. The horses were tired. We had been exploring creeks and ridges most of the day. We were about a mile from camp when I heard a scream. It sounded like a woman in great distress.

“What was that?” Every sense was immediately heightened. It was eerie. Another scream! Even the horses were nervous with their ears pointed forward. As we moved closer, the next scream sounded like it was from within our camp. “Is a woman in our camp? Has something terrible happened?” These questions were running through my mind. Whoever it was screaming, they were in fear and it was not good.

Darkness increased as we rode nearer camp. I was getting scared. I thoroughly expected to find people at our camp and someone would be dead or severely wounded. We turned the bend in the trail riding through the trees into camp. Nothing. Nobody around. Who was screaming and where were they? We had heard that a mountain lion can sometimes sound like a woman screaming. After checking things around camp, we came to the conclusion that must have been what we heard. It was the first time we had heard a mountain lion do that. It made for an interesting ride that evening.

Sometimes we have fear of things we cannot identify. Many times the fears are unfounded. I remember as a boy, taking the garbage out to the burn barrel in the dark. The barrel was away from the house on the side with no light. It was all I could do to walk out there, grope around, and start the trash on fire in the barrel, finally getting some light. I would then look around, not seeing too far with the light of the fire. I still had to go back to the house. Looking at the fire, my eyes had become accustom to the light. Then turning to back to the house, it was really dark. I had to leave the security of the firelight and get back around to the front of the house where there was light from the porch. It was a long ways or so it seemed in the dark.

I remember on one occasion, running so fast to the house that only the tips of my toes touched the ground. That fear of the dark sounds silly now. Just like the ride into camp hearing the screaming, fear produces interesting responses in us. What fears do you have? Have you ever been fearful only to find out later, there was no need to be? Fears are real and evoke real responses in us. The best fear we can have is of the Lord for that fear is the beginning of wisdom.

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