Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pay Attention to Your Fears

I live at the base of a steep mountain. It's quite a cardio climb, with a few switch backs in the paths. Cody and I climb to the 1st bench, enjoy the view and start back down.

The whole mountain range is vast with paths going in all directions. Most people hiking the mountain have dogs because the leash law doesn't apply there. There's a fair percentage of bikers and another group of bronzed runners. Each has their own agenda.

When I reached the 1st bench there were 3 young men milling around the bench. One was sitting on the bench empting the pebbles from his shoes. Another, nervously walking around the bench and the 3rd man was sitting about 15 ft away on a rock. He was black, quite heavy, huffing and complaining about the climb. I don't mention color as a racist statement but a person of color really stands out in Montana.

The man on the bench got up and I sat down. The two white men were talking and I finally realized they were talking to me. They were asking me questions; things like, "did I live in Helena, etc." It was at that moment that I really studied them and although they didn't look like vagrants, they didn't match any of the usual categories of people who hiked the mountain.

Suddenly I was seized with an instinctual paralyzing fear. Even Cody was acting weird. She was circling us in a manner I've never seen before. I could feel their eyes almost penetrating through me. Then the tall, thin one came quite close to me and said, "If you live around here, you must live in a really nice house."

With that odd statement, my fear rose to immediate panic. I'm alone with evil men, miles from help. I had a cell phone ...... but ..... All I wanted was to leave, to run down the mountain, but I also knew I couldn't show them I was afraid. Then I remembered the old cliche, that the best defence is an offense and I turned the situation around and started asking them questions. I asked if they lived here, were they on vacation, did they like hiking , etc, all the while slowly edging my way to the path. They were reluctant to answer but the tall guy said they were from California. I tried to keep my voice cheerful and chatty, like a garrulous old woman and said I had to go.

They then did another odd thing. They went over to the black man and they all sat down in some tall grass where you could only see their heads. They were watching me and talking in low voices. As I started down the steep part, a pretty woman appeared coming up the path. She would have to pass right by these men and I wanted to warn her without getting their attention. As she approached me, I said, "say" rather softly. She kept walking. I repeated it two more times but I think I saw a blue tooth in her ear. She didn't hear me, but she kept walking straight towards those men.

Cody and I went down the steep, gravelly path as fast as we could. Now my fear was for the young lady. Should I call the police? Yeah..... and tell them what? "There are three men on the mountain and a woman is walking by them?" They'd say, "Crazy old lady." That would be that.

When I got home, I called a friend and told her the story. Then she told me a story. From my description, they were the same men she saw at the laundromat when her machine had broken. Helena has a pre-release facility of around 200 beds and I'm sometimes hearing of them walking away or hiding in people's homes. She further said about the laundromat, the energy of the three men was so dark that everyone unknowingly moved to the opposite side of the room. She knew they could have only 3 passes per day and every one of their hours had to be accounted for. Someone would have had to drop them off at the mountain and pick them up if they wanted to hike.

She asked if they looked like they just got out of prison. Silly question. How would I know what anyone looked like who just got out of prison. She said they behave differently because they're not used to being social or interacting with others. Yes, this must have been what I picked up on and what made my fear alarm go off.

I had another friend who had been on the review board when the facility first opened. He would mention it when any of his men escaped. Other than than, I never even thought of the place, being here. Just because the 3 men had spent time in prison, it didn't mean they were planning to do physical harm to anyone. Most likely, they wanted to rehibilitate and live a life again.

My message is this. DO pay attention to those sudden flashes of fear. Your body instinctively knows and is trying to protect you. These men obviously did carry traces of a dark, evil past, or they would't have been in prison. Pay attention to the signals your body receives.


  1. That gave me the chills! Brrr. You're so right, Manzanita. We need to listen to our intuition. I hope that young woman was all right. I want to think that maybe she was their guard gone up there to collect them.

    Su-sieee! Mac
    This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then.

  2. I'm glad that you are fine and we'll just pray the young woman did the same, just kept moving. Hopefully the young man weren't who your friend thought they might be and just acting different because of a woman alone. It's so hard to know but you did what your intuition said and that is what was good.
    I'm a following now, thanks for stopping by. Take care and have a blessed afternoon.

  3. Found you on one of the Friday Follows. I'm your newest follower on your super awesome blog!


  4. I call it the dinosaur instinct. The primal part in the back of our brain that speaks to us. Too many don't listen to it during times of fear. But if you heed it's warning and listen to its direction you'll survive. I know, it's happened to me. Thank goodness you did (heed the call and warning that is). Sending blessings and warmth to you, sweet woman!

  5. Hi! I'm your newest follower from the Friday Follows! Cool blog! I hope to see you at Dropped Stitches.

    xo Erin

  6. Would those men approach a man and ask him such off-the-wall questions? They were trying to intimidate you, as I'm sure they have done to many other women that have crossed their paths. I'm glad you beat feet and got the heck out of there.

    We have two automatic responses when faced with danger: fight or flight. Flight is always the best choice if given the opportunity.

    One week ago, I had a similar experience. I exited a small family-owned market, and I saw a man talking to a woman as she stood outside her open driver's door in the blazing heat (first hint something was wrong). This woman had pulled into the parking lot at the same time I had, and I had noticed her because she was a cute, sweet looking young lady. She had been alone when I first saw her, so I knew this man did not belong.

    As I walked toward my car, she looked at me; her eyes penetrated mine deeply. I knew she needed help. I slowed my pace and rustled my shopping bags, and the man turned toward me and approached, just as I knew he would. He started to utter a few words, "Pardon me, Miss, can you spa..." I interrupted him and with sudden anger I said, "DON'T COME NEAR ME." My voice was low, almost a growl. My heart was beating rapidly. I'd had it with people like him.

    He started screaming at me, calling me a little bitch, and told me he was going to beat the shit out of me with his crutch. "Oh, you were so polite, until you didn't get what you want," I said with venomous sarcasm. He continued to hobble away on his crutches, cussing at me.

    I'm a feisty woman, and I've had a lot of self-defense training, but I was never taught to act out like I did. Pure stupidity. Did I think I was Charles Bronson in Death Wish? Flight should have been my response. But it wasn't and I can't explain why. I was hoping he'd try to swing a crutch at me, because I was ready to fight back, and he wasn't -- he was drunk.

    I called him a few choice names -- yes, I lowered myself to his level, and I'm not proud of my behavior, but the cute little lady and I left that parking lot safe and sound.

    Keep in mind, Ladies, men who are up to no good, do not usually approach other men. And a decent man would never approach a lone woman and ask her for a handout.

    Sorry about the length of the comment, Manzi, but it felt good to finally get this off my chest.

  7. Thanks for your comments. There was a huge controversy when they wanted to put this "Pre-Release Program" in our community. No one wants 200 guys, who are still officially "in prison," running around their city. I seldom think about it, now. I do believe we emit our emotions. It can be like a ray of sunshine or a dark cloud, depending on our rung on the spiritual ladder.The 3 guys I met, probably haven't even found the ladder, yet! Their cloud was a huge dark one.
    Kj ..... that was quite an experience you describe. You should make it a post. You're younger and feistier and have martial arts training. What a glorious combination. Wish you lived closer. I'd hike the mountain with you and feel safe. Manzi.

  8. You are such a canny bird. (Translation: astute lady) I was chased by some asians in my car once, in the end I slowed down so much they had to pass me. It was the pursuit they wanted. Be vigilant at all times - that is my motto. :)