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Fear is But A Word... @Rolly A. Chabot

Updated on June 13, 2014


Welcome again to the Fireside, this will be the second hub today. I will blame it on the weather as it is chilly outside today. Please step into the world of warmth with the sound of crackling fire, the light smell of woodsmoke in the room. Of course, the always present pot of steaming coffee and all you need to satisfy your tastes.

Please find this to be a place of peace where you can put your feet up, rest from a long day and gather your own thoughts. If you find something here that peaks your interest then I have accomplished something today. Stay as long as you like and above all else know that you are loved... Hugs attached as always.



Fear... Rolly Defined (Scary Thought)

I would be safe in saying we have all experienced fear at one time or another in our lives. I will let you paint your own picture of the recollection of what your experience has been. I have seen fear in others that was somewhat haunting and to listen to them tell of it sparks emotions deep within as they speak of their experience.

The human brain is a complex organ, so complex science still has not discovered it full capabilities. We have an intricate network of a hundred billion nerve cells which guide and direct us through every we do and think. It is a truly amazing when you think of the complexity.
Fear can bring on multiple responses at the same time when we are faced with a fight or flight response to a situation. Chemicals are released immediately, and the result is increased breathing, increased heart rate. The immediate rush of endorphins spikes every response we have to a full out defence mode.

Some people would say they are ready for anything. They may be right in thinking so, but there is always the aftermath of the way they have responded that says, "I should have done this, or I wish I had better control over that."

We can learn



Fear can kill, it robs us of rational thought where we respond in ways we normally would not. Allow me to share an experience I have had years ago coming face to face with all consuming fear and what I have learned as a result.

Many years ago when I was barely 20 I saw an ad in a local paper that stated. "High wages... Become an Underground Miner... Accommodation and meals provided." At the time, it was one of the highest paying jobs around. I applied and was accepted with visions of a man being on his hands and knees, chipping away at rocks in search of ore of some kind.
It was a far cry from what I found. 40 men loaded into what was called a cage (Elevator) and dropped at high speed down to whatever level you were assigned too. For me, it was 8500 feet below the surface. There was some fear all right, well hidden, remember after all, there were 39 other men with me who did this day in day out and they were cool.

My job for the first three month was shovelling, that was it. After a few weeks, my boss appointed me the task of organizing 8 other newbies. After a year, I was assigned to work with a highly experienced miner. A hard nosed old Irishman who showed no mercy when it came to hard work. After the first month, I received an extra 2200 dollars called bonus which old Paddy shared with me. You see the big boys were paid a wage and a bonus for the additional ore they pulled out. This involved mucking out the ore from the previous day with machines, setting up, drilling, loading the explosives and blasting at the end of your shift.

A year later I was assigned a stope, a portion of the mine I could call my own. I joined the ranks of Paddy and some of the other high earning miners. Now this is where I experienced fear the first time in one of the loneliest and scary situations I found myself in. I had just loaded the face, called out the traditional "Fire in the Hole" after making certain I was alone I ignited the fuse. It gave me 16 minutes to clear the area and climb the 170 feet by ladder to the level I was to meet the rest of the men at.

As I was climbing my battery operated lamp on my helmet failed me. I was left in complete darkness for the accent as the round began it ignite, sending a putrid white smoke up the shaft I was climbing.So thick it was capable of killing a person. The explosives were a combination of a dynamite stick and 16 feet of hard packed fertilizer and diesel fuel, packed into 56 1 inch holes. The blasts are timed in such a way as to implode the centre onto itself and slowly blast the outer holes inside.

I was caught in absolute pitch black darkness, surrounded by this white smoke and all I could do was continue to rise completely blind until I broke through to the next level of 8300 Feet. I found fresh air at least. This is where you take the time to rationalize. Finding light was the first thing. You have no idea how much light a Bic lighter can provide. I still had a half mile to walk to get to the cage. Next came the fact the lighter got far too hot to hold. Miners always carry toilet paper in the webbing of their hard hats for obvious reasons. A few feet of it twisted tightly and lit on file was good for a few hundred feet. It still amazes me to think of how much light comes off of a glowing piece of toilet paper.

The small yellow light at the cage was a welcome sight. The red flashing light not. It meant a man had been unaccounted for and mine rescue were on their way down. Lessons learned that day. 1st... be certain you are properly prepared and ready to clear the mine on time before lighting the fuse. 2nd... be aware of your surroundings and the dangers. 3rd... do not panic and allow fear to be your motivation. Stop and think.

At the end of the day, I made it out of the mine. I was fine for several violations and ended up having to pay 2000.00 dollars in cost to cover the overtime for mine rescue. Two weeks later I was handed a repair bill for my lamp of 46.00 dollars. The worst part was I was teased till no end by my fellow miners.

Listen to Your Thoughts


Gut Feelings

When fear finds its way into your life, it is a challenge to face. Fear is healthy for us as humans, but it is how we respond to it that writes the end of the story. One must above all else focus on self preservation which means keeping your mind as clear as possible after the initial impact of what you face.

When you are all alone and faced with a life or death situation, the outcome is wholly and entirely in your hands. If you have faith, you call out for help, at the time I had nothing but my own instincts. Obviously I made some right choices or you would not be reading this. Before you simply give up and run off in an unknown direction, consider your options and weigh them out as to how to deal with where you are.

Three months later I was severely injured when a slab of rock pinned me. I was later assigned to working on the surface after that helping lecture the newbies on mine safety and what to expect. The success rate of young miners is very low. I eventually ended up driving a huge forklift, with an enclosed heated cab unloading rail cars and running the network of needed timber and steel supplies required underground.

Be blessed with knowing you have such a warning system as fear as it is something that will save your life someday if the right decisions are made...

© Rolly A. Chabot

Tribute to The Miner


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    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Mary615...

      Thanks for the comment and glad to hear you are not afraid of to much in life. Well except for snakes and for that fear you are not alone as I think many are.

      I have had many occupations where fear was a part of working. It is something you never really forget. It breeds respect into what you are doing, through that respect I am glad I am here to write about it...smiles.

      Hugs from Canada

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      I have to say I am not afraid of too much, but I never had a dangerous occupation such as coal mining. I'm sure I could never attempt going down into a coal mine!

      I am very afraid of diamondback rattle snakes, though. I stay clear of those!

      I enjoyed reading your interesting story.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Mary... you are so right about the miners work, almost to a point of being unnatural, but we do what we had to at the time... smiles.. a good reminder never hurt any of us. How many times over the years have I thought this could be dangerous and but a moment before something happened... OUCH...


    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Utterly amazing. There is nothing easy about a miner's work and I would think a dose of fear is a good thing to keep you on the alert. Fear plays many parts in our life and as I said, not always a bad thing.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Nick... Thank you for stopping and saying hello, welcome aboard and I do hope your stay at the Fireside is enjoyable. Should you have any questions please ask...


    • Nick DeGeorge profile image

      Nick 3 years ago from Gilbert Arizona

      Rolly just started to read through your series. I am relatively new and I am figuring out to read popular authors and learn the ropes here. Thanks for the effort to produce a stream of quality stories I am learning! The effort these is intense and its appreciated.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Whidbeywriter...

      Thanks for the comment and thinking back over some of those years and the chances I took I relish the fact I am here to write as well. I think being younger makes one feel like they are invincible, later in life we realize we are not... Great to have you sitting at the Fireside...

      Hugs and Blessings

    • Whidbeywriter profile image

      Mary Gaines 3 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

      Another good read......great story and so glad you did make the right choices in a very scary and dangerous situation. We are blessed because you are here and we get to enjoy your writings! Blessings my friend.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Morning Pam... thanks for the comment and yes fear can take over and consume you if it is allowed. Glad I survived as well... the will to conquer and overcome is a wonderful sense to have...

      Hugs and Blessings from Canada

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      Rolly, that must have been terrifying. I know fear can absolutely paralyze you sometimes. I am glad you came out okay, if a bit poorer.

      God Bless

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Aviannovice .... Thanks for stopping, always good to see you visit and comment. It was an experience is about the best way to put it and yes in the old days that was a common practice in coal mines especially. Even though it is unnatural for a person to work in those conditions at the time money was the driving factor.... not a great life for anyone...

      Hugs and Blessings from the surface...

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      My mother told me that my grandfather was a coal miner. I knew that it was dangerous work, and that canaries went down the shaft with them. If the bird died, they had to get out quickly. I commend you for your work.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi lifegate... it has been a while, not certain why you are not getting notified. Hopefully you have sorted through it. Always great to have you visit.

      Hugs and Blessings

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Never did a notification for this.Ii was just looking around and came across it. Glad to see you again, my friend. I'll have to check and see what else I may have missed.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Billy... great you dropped by as always. I think you understand fear and the lost feeling... being in a place of despair of being ruled by something is a terrible place to be.

      So glad to be on this side of the grass each day... smiles... I know you count your chickens everyday, even the ones who make it in the house...

      Hugs and Blessings Bro

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Bravewarrior... not a place for the claustrophobic for certain even though the spaces were large we worked in. Yes, the Search and Rescue were looking for me. We were all assigned a tag with our employee numbers on them and had to tag out each day. Mine was missing and the Mine Captain ordered the search immediately... great to know we were looked after... Thanks for the visit


    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Faith Reaper... it was an experience is all I can say... a far cry from what I had in mind and a time of learning. It certainly put me into the best condition I had ever been in in my life. It was a hard life working down there, surrounded by the dark and the coolest of 38 degrees most times. Thanks for joining at the Fireside...

      Hugs and Blessings as always

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful words of wisdom my friend, and very happy to hear you made it through the fear and are stronger and wiser because of it. Thank you for a great message.

      hugs from Oly


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, I would have been so scared! Of course, I'd be too scared to do that job in the first place, not to mention that I'd never make it due to being claustrophobic. Thank God you made is out alive! Who was the search and rescue team after? You?

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Rolly,

      I love your interesting and real perspectives from life experiences of fear. Thank you for sharing your terrifying experience ... I cannot even imagine such! So glad you are still here to write about it and share your story to the benefit of all who read.

      Up and more and away

      Blessings and peace always

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Sir Eric... great to see you again... so very true is it not about having fear, so easily confused ... wisdom is a wonderful thing when you find it... I am still looking but I know the source at least...

      Blessings from Canada

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 3 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Nell... great to see you hear and so very true about facing them and maybe even getting to the root cause of the fear. ... Have a great weekend yourself and watch the thunder... love a great storm.

      Hugs for Canada

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      When a young man has not faced his fears I will not trust him as an old man. Great story and truth about my fear.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Rolly, Wow, rolly the miner! that must have been really scary, and I know what you mean about fear, it comes in all shapes and sizes, but we should always take notice of it, and try to overcome our fear, have a great weekend Rolly, nell