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