Back in August 2008, Cuppa and I had driven to the cottage (aka Riverwood) for the weekend. We were on our way home when we had an excruciatingly close call. Since we missed, it can’t be classified as an accident, but if my old brain hadn’t suddenly and almost miraculously kicked into gear, we would surely have become fatality statistics and Nikki Dee and Zachary, already minus one grandfather, would have only known and been nurtured by one grandparent. It really was that close.
By the time we navigated our way from the secondary roads onto the highway darkness had settled. Very shortly after getting onto the highway, I saw a car up ahead, lights on approaching in my lane. He was trying to pass three cars when I showed up speeding towards him in the opposite direction. Naturally, I went onto alert but began to breathe easy when I saw him beginning to edge back into his own lane. Except that he didn’t. I assume that he couldn’t find a space in the midst of the cars he was passing, so in his great wisdom his solution was to straighten up and barrel right towards me.
I was travelling at almost 100 kph (60mph) and he was doing the same, probably faster. We were close to impact and certain death. Instantly, I pulled over onto the shoulder, and we whizzed passed each other.
Talk about a close call: about as close as you can come and live to tell about it. I’d say we were about a second from catastrophe when I pulled onto the gravel shoulder at great speed. If there had been no shoulder, or a sloping one, or a less hard packed one, our trip and our lives would have ended. If he had also attempted to make for the shoulder at the same time as I, we still would have had a fatal crash for there would have been no time for another correction. I cannot fathom why he didn’t head for the shoulder, why he chose to drive right at us, but apparently it’s good that he didn’t, for we didn’t crash.
In an instant it was over. I was very calm both during and after. I sort of said to myself, “That was close, but we’re here, and life goes on.” There was nothing else to do but keep driving and hoping that the other driver had learned a lesson about driving in such a reckless hurry.
Now, I have another day to live, actually not a day, just this moment and then perhaps another and another. It’s a gift, a gift to savour. Life always is a gift and not just after a close call, but we all get caught up in our doings and forget that all too frequently. We forget to slow our frenzied minds and simply revel in our breath and the beating of our hearts. Today, I will make an extra effort taste and appreciate the gift of life that I and Cuppa have been given, and I invite you to do the same.
Two and a half years later, I still shake my head in wonderment. What a narrow escape! But there is yet another, one that that took place a long before this one …