A man and his dog out for a sunset paddle on the stand up paddleboard.
How about another story about a bizarre phenomenon that I have experienced? This is a story that took place on the Institute Creek trail outside of Wrangell when I worked on the trail crew for the U.S. Forest Service. A couple of us had gotten flown by helicopter up to a 3 sided shelter at the terminus of the trail at about 1800'. Our task was to do some repair work and cut some firewood for the day and then get picked up and flown back to town. A hiker had reported a tree down across the trail about halfway between the trailhead at sea level and the shelter so I volunteered to hike down with a chainsaw to cut the tree out and then get picked up by vehicle down at the trailhead on the road.
I had been dealing with a nagging low grade pain in my right shoulder, nothing serious, just a pain that I got occasionally brought on by physical work. It wasn't a pain that limited me in any way really and had become just one of those "normal" aches and pains one gets from hard work. No big deal. I hiked down the trail to the tree and was almost finished with the task when I saw a woman hiking up the trail towards me. I turned off my saw, flipped up my ear protection and waved to the woman to let her know that I saw her and that it was safe for her to proceed. She was a middle aged lady and had a mandolin strapped to her back. We struck up a conversation there on the trail as she was only in town until the next day and was curious to know how far she had to go to get to the shelter. I was standing relaxed with my thumbs hooked in my saw chaps enjoying the afternoon and the conversation when the woman rather out of the blue asked me what was wrong with my shoulder. Since the shoulder pain wasn't very significant and was mostly a background noise kind of pain for me, I didn't even think of it and replied back to her that there was nothing wrong with my shoulder. We chatted some more and then she again asked me what was wrong with my shoulder to which I again replied that nothing was wrong. She was a bit more insistent this time though and said that there was something wrong with it. This made me remember the shoulder pain I had so I told her that I had a mild, somewhat regular pain there that was really no big deal and didn't limit me in any way. I remember her then saying, "OK, that makes sense. Do you want me to fix it for you?"
I found this question a little odd coming from a total stranger out in the middle of the forest during a very random encounter on a trail so I politely declined her offer explaining that I needed to get down to the road where my crew was probably waiting for me. In my mind I thought she was suggesting some sort of massage that would take several minutes. As I explained this to her she said, "No, this will only take a second." Her insistence and the fact that she was somehow able to detect my shoulder pain had piqued my curiosity so I agreed to let her "fix" my shoulder at which point she felt along my shoulder with her hand to a spot close to my neck and then quickly and very firmly squeezed and released. The pain instantly disappeared! Immediately! Not only did it disappear instantly, it to this day has never come back. I was rather dumbfounded by this result and asked her what she did to relieve this pain. Her answer was not at all what I expected. She very nonchalantly explained to me that she could see my energy, the energy or aura of my body and that the energy made it obvious to her that something was out of whack in my shoulder. She said that she commonly worked with troubled youth and that a lot of their emotional problems were linked to physical problems that she could see and help to correct. Sounds kind of hippy dippy, huh? At the time, I was thinking of all the other explanations for how she was able to do what she did thinking about pressure points, maybe I gave some subconscious signal in my movements, etc. There had to be some other more logical and acceptable explanation. While these thoughts were going through my mind and I was still standing there relaxed with my thumbs hooked in my saw chaps, she asked me, "So what is going on with your legs?"
What?! My legs? I replied to her that my legs were fine, no problems at all but she persisted and said something like, OK but there is something going on there. Well, she was right again. As I thought about it, I did remember that my quadriceps were slightly sore from doing a physical fitness test the day before in which I had to hike 3 miles with a 45# pack in under 45 minutes to meet the minimum requirements to fight forest fires. Again, this was not something that affected me negatively and wasn't even something that I was even really consciously aware of, I was hiking a steep trail with a backpack and chainsaw after all.
When I told her about this, she nodded her head knowingly and said, "That makes sense." She said that she could tell that there was something minor going on with both of my legs, once again from something that she could see.
This is all absolutely true, no exaggerations at all. I wouldn't say that I was a skeptic about that sort of phenomenon but the experience really made me a firm and unashamed believer in auras, energies, and the ability to correct physical and medical conditions through means other than modern medicine. My only regret from this encounter is that I did not get her name and contact information because I have several more things that could use fixing! This encounter reminds me to always do my best to keep my mind open to the world, there is a lot of mystery out there still inadequately explained by science or religion.
And to finish this post, my favorite dog. It seems difficult to take a good photo of a black dog but this look on his face was hard to pass up. This is Chatham (or Shadow as I sometimes call him) one of my favorite dogs of all time although he is not mine, I am the Dogfather.