This article first appeared on December 31, 2014 in The Chattanoogan.com. Enjoy.

We lived out in the country in a rural community called Battle Creek, which is at the base of Monteagle Mountain just west of South Pittsburg, TN.  Our home was nestled on the rear edge of a three-acre yard that fronted the famous U.S. Highway 41 and was surrounded on three sides by woods and the base of the mountain. The closest neighbor was a quarter mile away through a path in the woods, which were the remains of the old stagecoach road from Chattanooga to Nashville, which started climbing up the Cumberland Plateau behind our house. It was a wonderful place to explore and hike in the seasons when the rattlesnakes and copperheads were sleeping. Except for the snakes that came to our yard in dry seasons seeking water, the daytimes were pleasant and beautiful…but oh boy, the nights out there were pitch black, with only the stars and the moon to light your way.

There were creatures that came out at night that would terrify this little fellow- sounds and glowing eyes seemed to surround me as I clung to the aluminum storm door and attempted to gain the courage to take the trash out to the burn pile at the edge of the woods. I learned that only a greater fear overcomes a fear…my Father’s belt eventually made me dash and throw out the trash and sprint back towards the safety of the light and Mom’s kitchen. Dad did not always know that Mom would stand in the open door and watch over me to give me strength and comfort…Moms do that for all of us. If I could hug my Mom’s neck right now I would and say “Thanks”, but she is gone. If yours is still alive, take a short break from reading this and go tell her thanks for watching over you while you still have time…I’ll still be here.

(Break –Seriously, go call your Mom right now!)

I hope you feel better and I promise your Mom does. Don’t ever stop telling her how much you love her and appreciate her unconditional love for you…her baby. 

As I got older, Mom did not have to stand in the door for me to see any longer and the sounds and sightings of bats, bobcats, owls, coyotes, foxes and stray dogs no longer struck panic in my heart, but rather curiosity and wonder. Once I got out into the darkness and sat quietly in a tree house or under the eave of a building, I experienced a natural order to the darkness, which, once I understood that I was pretty high up on the food chain, was fascinating and very instructional on life.

Our ancestors had to overcome their fears and leave the safety of the fire pit and the cave to not only find a better life, but, just to stay alive. They overcame their fears and here we are today, afraid of the dark in life and business. They would laugh at the meaningless things we fear in comparison to what they faced!

Like the Ancients, our destiny awaits us… often hidden in the darkness of the unknown… go out and get it like they did!

I doubt dinner ever walked into the cave and surrendered.

Carpe Diem – Carpe Nocturne.

Here’s wishing each of you the very best in 2015, Happy New Year!

About the Author: Bill Hewgley is president, Metalworking Solutions, LLC, a company he founded after retiring as president of American Manufacturing Company. One of his chief priorities is to mentor this upcoming millennial generation, while honoring those who helped him find his own way in life, by passing it on.

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