What is it about the unique crackling sound of a branch breaking in the woods that wakes you from a dead sleep in the middle of the night, releases unknown quantities of adrenaline into your bloodstream, and places your senses on an alert status just short of pure panic? You lie there, perfectly still in your olive green cocoon, listening ever attentively, while all you can see is pitch black – nothing but an infinite sea of darkness surrounding you.
All the while you’re waiting to hear another branch crack, an antler scrape a tree, a hoof as it impacts the ground, a grunt or snort that might help you identify the beast lurking just outside, the breathing of the bear that you can so vividly imagine walking slowly toward your tent, … something, … anything, … but all you can hear is your heart beating fiercely – lub, dup, lub, dup, lub, dup – as your pulse races on. Seconds seem like minutes, minutes seem like hours, and you’re still listening. Then there it is!
You hear it, way off in the distance, low and rumbling, as the silence is broken by another crackle, but this time it’s the crackle of thunder rolling through the trees. And for a moment everything stops with you, even the wind holds its breath, as you start to catch yours.