Saturday, June 23, 2012
The reverse of serendipity is?
Tragedy struck our mountain valley community on Wednesday. It was an automobile accident that took a nice lady, community involved, mother, grandmother, and ended her life just as she was entering her middle years. In this community, she is not the first to go in a vehicle crash nor will she be the last. Always it's a shock and very upsetting.
This one had added elements to the upset as the woman's 16-year old son was driving when a head on collision took his mother's life. I only know what I read in the newspaper. But because of that and one other reason, I wanted to write about it here.
The youth said he fell asleep (odd given this was 4:09pm), drifted into the opposite lane, then corrected for it. As luck would have it, someone was already in that lane and approaching fast. That driver made a catastrophic error when instead of heading for the ditch, he went into the approaching lane. When the youth corrected his vehicle, it was all she wrote.
Who was at fault? Everybody made a mistake as I see it but that's the whole problem with driving-- easy to make mistakes. When an accident happens, everything moves way fast and what seems logical to do if you have more time to think, it's not what you might do when it suddenly is upon you. It is why I think people need to think about these situations and know what they will do it it suddenly does happen. Be prepared and always steer toward the ditch in that situation unless it would mean going over a cliff or into a river.
Every so often we have seen something like it when we were the ones driving. A driver passes right into us and we slam on the brakes, slow and move onto the shoulder if possible. That driver might then believe they had the room to pass. They didn't. Next time the approaching auto might not be paying attention at that moment. Really with driving, we have to pay attention all the time. It's not a relaxing activity but it is one that demands full awareness or somebody should not drive.
There are a lot of reasons people suddenly swerve-- reaching for their phone, changing CDs, etc. We have discussed what to do when a driver is coming straight to us in our lane, and it's basically go off the road even though it wouldn't have been our fault and we'd be the only ones having an accident. The thing is head on collisions are likely to kill people. Going off the road varies for what the result will be.
Anyway it happened, and it leaves a lot of people feeling sad when sudden death comes seemingly so meaninglessly. Even more so when it's a nice lady, one who has not always had it easy, but anytime I saw her, she was putting on a smile. They've had their tough times as have many out here, but they are the kind who have worked for all they have, with a good reputation for honesty and hard work. I've never heard anything said against her. Not that it'd be okay if someone was killed that way who was a druggie or prostitute or thief etc. Either way premature sudden death is a tragedy. Having the son driving just adds onto the difficulty the family will face.
The thing is, and this is usually the case, few minutes either way and it'd not have happened. Timing is everything.
For those who want to make good out of everything-- that's not my way. I accept things that I don't like but never try to figure it was for the best or it will have a positive outcome for somebody. I simply accept it as yeah it's what happened but don't give it deeper meaning other than enjoy life while you have it as it can end real fast..
When I hear of something like this, my instinctive thought goes one other place-- where was I, what was I doing when something happened that changed the whole direction of a family's path, that ended the life of someone I knew? Sometimes I wouldn't know, not to the minute, but this time I did.
I had been writing and mostly working on trailers for my eBooks. That meant I had been playing with images. Farm Boss was outside disking a field for planting. When that accident was just happening, I had looked down at the time, realized I had missed the beginning of Chris Matthews and got up to turn on his show.
So when I was doing something totally mundane, someone else was facing a life and death situation, looking up to realize a vehicle was coming straight for them and there was no way to avoid the crash. Someone maybe even knew it was going to be the last moment of their life. Or maybe they didn't and they hoped.
It always goes a step further for me. Someday that person will be me. Hopefully not with an automobile accident, although when you drive these kind of country roads, you know that's not an unlikely end. I've been told and read of way too many of them during the years out here. The thing is, one reason or another, someday I'll be dying and everybody else will be going on as though nothing was wrong-- because in their world nothing is.
It is how life is. Mostly I don't think about it but sometimes something happens and I can't not think about it.
When I decided I wanted a photo here, something more upbeat, I remembered the foxglove were blooming down by the creek. I went down and had that kind of serendipitous happening that is just the opposite of what happened in that accident. I was there at just the right time to watch and photograph a butterfly sipping of the flower's nectar. We call that good timing and good luck. What do we call the other?