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Rolling Along

12 March 2012 | Category: Stories | Author: Clare

About a week ago I totalled the truck.

We were heading into town relatively early on a Saturday, and I was lost in thought. It was a beautiful blue morning, following a wintry night of fresh, heavy snowfall. Coming around a bend in the road, I lost control of the vehicle, and we started to slide across the highway.

Though a little disconcerting, this generally results in no more than a couple swerves, maybe some profanity, and a grin once it's all straightened out. As we continued to slide into oncoming traffic, I decided this was technically a little more serious. Not wanting to upset west-bound drivers by forcing them to share the road with me, I potentially over-corrected.

As the truck slid side on, I tried to remember the long forgotten high school physics; how could I stop what now seemed inevitable.

Moments of potential danger are characterised for me as windows in time of intense clarity. You are not afraid, you are just observing the situation; rationalising an outcome with none of the normal bias born of your desires, hopes, or fears. You are in the grip of a reality you currently have no ability to control. So you wait, watching, listening.

As the truck rolled onto it's roof, I forgot about the oncoming traffic, and cursed as Breagha went sailing by, dodgy knee barely held together by titanium plates that had been implanted less than a week before.

Wondering if we would ever stop moving as we skidded down the highway on the roof life a hockey puck, I cringed hearing one of the dogs yelping, making friends with a crate of ammunition that also travels without a seat-belt. I willed the roof not to cave in as we bounced down the highway, and felt a deep sense of relief as we finally wedged into a snow bank at the side of the road.

With the engine running, and feeling mildly disorientated, somewhere in the back of my mind the relief was replaced by the memory of a battered propane tank that had been in the bed of the truck. The image of fiery wreckage and explosions motivated the ensuing struggle to extricate myself and the girls from the truck; one small problem.

Hanging upside down like a fruit bat in your vehicle is bizarre; everything looks funny the wrong way around. Realising I was suspended by the seat-belt however, I was pleased with my brain for remembering where the release was in all the confusion; too bad I forgot about gravity.

I landed with a thud on the roof, and startled the already traumatised dogs. Still, we were making progress.

The thoughtfulness, and genuine concern of absolute strangers is heart-warming. Having just booted open a door, I was trying to figure out how to get the panic-stricken knee patient out safely when the first on the scene arrived. Having watched the accident, these folks were more shaken than I was; although I must have been somewhat ashen faced, based on their reaction.

More and more people waded in to help, and finally I cried - possibly in part relief at everyone being ok, more likely as I was so moved by the many concerned, and relieved faces that swam by. Like the day I cut off my finger with the table saw, I take this as a really gentle, and welcome education.

A reminder in this instance, not only to drive safely, but to cherish the things we have. To get up with a smile on your face, and wrap your arms around the day.

Truly, it might be your last.

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