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by Gary Lee Jenkins

I believe the first incidence occurred when I was ten. I went out into the night and stood staring at the countless stars. My breath quickened, and my senses seemed to become more aware of everything around me than I had ever experienced before. I felt powerful and full of energy, so much so that I began to run.

Running into the woods I felt so alive and I was able to run so fast that the trees rushed by in a blur. Finally I stopped in a clearing and looked up again at the stars. My breath was hot and made clouds with each exhale. I felt wild and free and strong. It seemed to be my universe, my night, and an incredible sense of power. Dancing and laughing in the starlight I felt indestructible and one with all of creation.

The second occurrence was when I was thirty. I was backpacking in the mountains by myself trying to work out some things in my mind. Way off the beaten path I took a fire road and then used my compass and a map to navigate down into an ancient valley with a stream which was hopefully hiding some nice trout for my supper. I cast my line and soon had 3 good sized trout to cook on my campfire. Having eaten I realized how tired I was from the day's hike and crawled into my sleeping bag to sleep.

I awoke suddenly in the night. I was thirsty and walked down to the little stream and drank its icy water. Then I looked up and saw the edge of the galaxy. Stars beyond imagining! The same feeling flooded my being, power, energy, indestrucability...and the feeling that I should get into the stream.

At first I just waded into the water. Then I laid down into the stream and let it flow over my body. Again I stared at the stars and felt the energy surging up within me. I began to sing what sounded to me like an American Indian song with low tones followed by higher ones. I thought maybe I had heard it or something like it in the movies. Now I was standing with my arms outstretched chanting this song and began to dance in the stream.

As all of this was going on, the wind slowly began to pick up, and I noticed clouds beginning to cover the stars. I continued to splash around with my wild dance and sing this song in ever increasing volume. To my astonishment, it began to rain! A flash of lightening followed quickly by a tremendous clap of thunder told me the storm was right on top of me. I quickly ran to my tent and zipped up all the flaps. I sat in the darkness listening to the raging storm outside and wondered if my little song and dance had caused this sudden change in the weather.

Instead of calming down, the storm seemed to intensify. I knew I should start moving to higher ground, so I quickly got dressed, put on my rain gear and packed my backpack. Then I went outside and began to take down the tent. As I was doing this, the stream was swelling menacingly towards my campsite. What had been a peaceful little stream was becoming a dangerous rapid, with branches and small trees crashing around within its seething waters. I crammed the last of my gear into my backpack and started trudging up the slope, away from this angry flood behind me. It was difficult to see and the mud made the climb harder because of the weight of it on my hiking boots. I finally found a rock overhang which offered some protection and which was far enough uphill that I felt good about stopping there until this thing blew itself out. I found a semi dry spot and sat down, resting against my pack.
When I awoke the next morning, the sky was clear and bright blue. The ground was still wet and there were countless branches littering the forest floor all the way down to the stream, which was now a wide muddy river, full of fallen trees and branches, moving swiftly down the valley.

Had I caused this? I felt that I had connected with some force, some primal energy which had moved me into an alternate reality where I mixed with the starlight and the water and caused a reaction which resulted in the storm. And yet again, my western, logical and skeptical mind kept insisting that it was all just a coincidence, that these mountains were known for being unpredictable weather-wise and I had been out of touch for days without a weather forecast.

I found out later at the Ranger station as I was leaving that the area had been in a semi-drought condition and that they were worried about forest fires before this sudden storm came in the middle of the night and caused heavy flooding in the local area. They said I was lucky that I hadn't been washed away downstream. I neglected to tell them about my dance in the stream.

I speculated whether Indian ancestors, warlock powers, or an over active imagination influenced me. Many other occurrences tell me something is going on with me. I am getting old and the frequency of oddnesses is decreasing. Yet I still feel my senses rise when I look up into the clear star filled night sky.

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