Normally, my drive in to work in uneventful. Since they have shifted my start time to 8:30, I avoid the freeways, as they increase my drive time by up to 45 minutes. Still, it’s rush hour so there is a lot of traffic. The first leg of my drive is along a lake with a lot of wooded area around the road, so you get to see squirrels and other animals, and sometimes, the squirrels dart across the road ahead of you.
This morning, as I was driving in, a squirrel ran out in front of me and was across my lane of traffic, and then stopped and started to run back. It made its change at a point where I was unable to slow down enough to keep from hitting it.
I know. It’s just a squirrel. But it hit me and I started to think about the different metaphors that can be gleaned from what happened, the fragility of life, and how I was listening to the news, getting concerned about everything going on politically but in many ways, none of that matters as the world keeps on moving along.
A few miles later, a busy intersection as blocked because there had been a car accident. A minivan had its entire front end destroyed, with smoke billowing from the raw, visible metal, a sedan had a side crushed, and another car had its front end smashed beyond repair. While cars were driving around the accident to get to work on time, on the median, there was a woman, sitting, head in her hand, sobbing with someone sitting next to her with an arm around her shoulder.
As I was waiting my turn to go around them, a police car showed up. The officer was talking to the woman who was sitting in the median as I went around, and I did my best not to gawk at what is probably one of the worst mornings in that woman’s life. All three vehicles were totaled and with the officer reacting the way he did, I was reasonably sure no one was killed or seriously injured.
In both cases, a decision was made that turned out to be a bad one. In the squirrel’s case, it was to change direction in the face of danger and it was fatal. For the drivers of those vehicles, I would speculated that someone made a decision and didn’t correct from things changing around them (an unseen vehicle, slowing down to let someone turn who might not have the right of way). It makes me think about how our choices are all based on what we know in that moment, but the information or calculations we make can be flawed.
This is a week of unpleasant memories for me. Some are public, some I have only shared with close friends, but being a sentimentalist, I tend to think about them overmuch when the calendar bring them up again.
Some, I chose to do something. Some, I didn’t have much of a choice. Some, I was merely reacting to what someone else wanted. All of them changed things and brought me here, to this time, and this place with this knowledge. I wish all of them would have turned out differently, but for all of the memories and heartbreak, I have to embrace them for the knowledge I gained.
Much love to friends old and new, and I hope that when decision time comes, you are able to make the wise choice based on where you are, what is going on around you and what is best for everyone involved.