an anniversary to remember
July 23rd was my husband’s and my 34th wedding anniversary and we were returning home after spending an overnight in Burlington. We had just passed the Long Trail Brewery heading east on Rt 4 when I saw a sign for Maple soft serve ice cream. Luckily the car behind me wasn't traveling too close because I stepped hard on the brakes to ask my husband if he wanted to stop for one. He said he didn't so I sped up again and we continued on our way.
A short distance up the road, we drove past the junction of RT 100A and rounded a corner on Route 4. Suddenly I heard my husband yelling, "Watch out! Watch out!" Ahead of me I saw a small black car weaving across the center line into our lane. It bounced off the guardrail ahead of us, and with a sickening feeling I pulled over to the right as far I could, wondering if that car was going to come straight at us. Instead it careened back across the road and in my side rear view mirror I saw it go off the road and come crashing to a halt in a ditch.
Through the next hour I spent time on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, squatting by shattered glass on the passenger side of the damaged car, holding a wad of tissues to the head of a woman who was distraught and crying and who, fortunately, appeared to be only slightly injured. By my side was the home-owner of the land where her car came to rest, holding her hand and talking to her to keep her calm. The volunteer fire department crew and EMTs arrived and we stepped back to allow them to care for her. After the ambulance bore her away, we gave our statements to the state trooper. Then my husband and I made our way back to our car and continued home.
We talked about how lucky we felt that we had been a few seconds away from being in her path when her car crossed the centerline into our eastbound lane. It seemed like the places on our journey when we had slowed or stopped (i.e. the "maple-soft-serve-slow-down seconds earlier) had put us in a place of safe distance from the vehicle that had quickly become an out-of-control, life-threatening, mass of metal in front of us.
It left us with a real sense
of how quickly our lives could have been so deeply changed and how very
fortunate we were to be calmly getting into our car again and resuming our trip
home. A gift of life, well-being, and safety granted to us and everyone else on
that road who were in the right place to avoid the path of that woman's
This morning I was very aware of the gift of waking in my own bed, in my home, with my husband whole & well beside me. I took more pleasure enjoying my morning routine and looking ahead to a day of sunshine, aware of the luxury we still had to be able to choose whatever we wanted to do with our time. So many things for which to be grateful, and after last evening, the highest among those is our lives and whole bodies - intact and unharmed.