When you're lying in bed and hear a thump in the night somewhere in the house, your imagination can run pretty wild. The doors were all locked; I remember checking them myself. But strange things do happen, and even out here in the country, people's houses get broken into.
I got out of bed, grabbed some protection and went downstairs. A thorough check of all rooms and spaces where someone might be able to hide came up empty. Yet the thump was real. Perhaps some ice came off the roof. Some years ago at our house in Cassadaga, an ice dam on the back roof came loose and crashed right through the deck. That slab of ice was about two feet thick, three feet wide, and twenty feet long. It must have weighed a ton, and when it came down, the part of the deck next to the house simply collapsed.
This didn't sound quite like ice breaking loose, but it was the best explanation I could think of until we looked into the bathroom right outside our bedroom door. Lying on the floor beneath the window was a picture frame - a collage of flowers painted by a friend. A screw that held the frame's wire had come loose, perhaps with the humidity, sending the picture to the floor. False alarm! No intruders, no need for the protection after all.
We are blessed to live where we do, where break-ins are rare. For too many people, robbery and its often accompanying assault are a matter of course. I am grateful tonight for where I am privileged to live, and for a false alarm that lets me breathe easily and sleep peacefully.