My breath came in gasps as panic-adrenalin fed my legs allowing me to run faster as a bear chased me, matching step-for-step, loud and intense, my life was about to end. Skip-running frantically in the calf-deep waves of Lake Michigan - a forest on one side and open water on the other - and a bear paralleling me in the woods.
The bear kept pace with me as my legs rose and fell quickly slicing through the cold wavy lake, my only thought was "it" was going to hurt, and hurt badly.
Terrified of bears since I was a child this was my worst nightmare ... perhaps my last one.
I ran faster, my wet clothes sloshing and splashing in the water.
I slowed to catch my breath.
The bear slowed down.
The bear ran.
The waves were too noisy for anyone to hear me scream, as if I could. My breath was coming in such gasps that I was forced to slow again. I bravely or stupidly looked back. The bear stopped, and although the forest hid the beast, I felt how close he was, sensed him, smelled his musty fur.
I ran, and the bear started after me again. With each paw step closer, my panic intensified.
As I was about to be crunched in the bear's jaws a funny noise came from my shorts. I slowed down, the bear slowed down. Oh my good Lord, the noise was the sound my wet canvas shorts made as canvas rubbed on canvas making a strangely bear-sounding noise. The bear was the noise of my pants.
I breathlessly laughed from the tension at my narrow escape from what I thought was a sure and painful death.
I suppose my take-away is that if you are terrified of something unseen - stop and breathe - the "thing" may be a figment of imagination created from your own wet pants.