Life is what happens while we are busy making plans for other things. And then other things take center stage, and what was important earlier in the day becomes more inconsequential. And these are truisms. Everyone knows them. But when we are reminded of the big picture, we can't help but take notice. And give thanks, if appropriate.
I had been thinking about what the next blog entry would be about. I had narrowed it down to the potential creative application of bi-phasic sleep cycles to creativity, or the role of the muse in creative endeavors. But before either one could be finalized, life happened.
This morning I was driving in the midst of busy holiday weekend traffic. As usual, traffic was moving too fast and drivers were not being as courteous as they could be. We put ourselves in metal boxes, hurtle through space, and with our anonymity intact, we act as though we own the roads and human beings who do human things can irritate us to no end.
In my rearview mirror I was aware of a woman following a little too close for my comfort. In front of me, however, was where the action was. Someone cut in front of an SUV two vehicles in front of me. The driver of the SUV hit her brakes and stopped quickly. Behind her, the motorcyclist was not so fortunate. He tried to stop but had to dump his Harley and flew over its handlebars into the SUV as his bike skidded behind him. In that split second, I was certain that one of two things was going to happen. Either my brakes were going to lock and I was going to hit the motorcyclist, or in the midst of trying to stop I would be hit from behind, causing me to flip over or pushing me over the man who just crashed to the highway.
I braked hard and veered right. Beside me was a van, and the driver also veered right as far as he could, but he was hemmed in on the other side by a tractor trailer. I waited for our vehicles to smash together. Our side mirrors made contact. The other driver stopped and I pulled over beside the median. My mirror was mangled and a piece of fiberglass had popped off. The other driver's mirror was also broken. We both ran back to the cyclist who was miraculously moving. At least enough to stand up. He may have ended up with a broken shoulder. After traffic was stopped enough for vehicles to be pulled to the side of the road, and while we waited on an ambulance and a state trooper to show, there were four of us sharing the scene. And the discussion was all focused on the same point. Somehow no one was killed. Each of us would be leaving the accident scene. The van and my vehicle had, at worst, busted mirrors. We were darned lucky.
I have to call my insurance company. I may write about the accident more in a journal, just to get the last bits of cortisol out of my system. Neither task was one I had envisioned at the beginning of the day. But compared to the other potential outcomes, I got off easy. And I am giving thanks.