Friday, December 08, 2006

The Tree Victorious

I had a bit of an accident last Thursday night.

On the way back home from St. Malo, the wind was whipping snow into blinding clouds. It was difficult to see at points, so I was going slower that usual. Coming up past Aspen Lodge is a roadside call box, and for some reason it caught my attention. At the time I wasn't sure why I hadn't really noticed it before--one of those random thoughts that occupy the mind as it periodically wanders during driving.

From there, maybe half a mile up Highway 7, the road begins to snake back and forth through dense pine. There's not much of a shoulder to speak of; the trees huddle close to the road on the east, and the valley slides off to the west. And so, when the wind paused, the snow settled, and I rounded a bend and saw the pine tree stretched across the pavement, I had nowhere to go but straight into it.

I slammed the brakes, which didn't any good, and had what seems like an entire minute to prepare for what was going to happen. And just before impact I cried for help.

I don't remember the crushing of metal--what I think a bugling elk sounds like. I don't remember the windshield breaking. I do remember the powdery smell of the airbag, though I'm sure that I didn't hit it. And also I remembered where the call box was.

Here's what the car looks like:

And this one shows the remaining tree branches better.

I went back to the scene just south of Lily Lake a few days later to find the tree. It wasn't hard; it was in three massive pieces along the roadside. It must have been a foot and a half in diameter and nearly thirty feet tall. Had the trunk been any higher in the air, it would have probably missed the hood and come straight into the windshield.

So today, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, I thank the Blessed Mother for her protection.

I just wish she'd help me go car shopping.