Thursday, September 10, 2009

Faith on dark 2 lane highways: a parable

Last night my car and I did not hit a bear.

Two night ago, none of us slept well. We had returned from adventures in the North, and our schedules were off. 3/4 of us adapt better to than than the littlest 1/4. Henry was up a whole lot two nights ago, which meant that Jim was up for a while with him (as with Willa at this age, I've stopped going in at night, as he doesn't see me as mom in the dark, he sees me as a walking meal/comfort under a t-shirt). After nearly 2 hours, I tagged in. I patted Henry's back, walked and swayed with him, and eventually- after an hour - gave in to comfort nursing him (bad, bad, bad). And finally... at about 5 am, we got some sleep.

And then Willa came downstairs in tears because the ball that Midnight - her invisible black cat - plays with had fallen under the bed and, Midnight? She neeeeeds it. Willa did not care that Midnight was sleeping, that it was the middle of the night, or that her mom was growling at her.

So... not a lot of sleep 2 nights ago. I know, you're all, "uh... Amy... the bear?" I'm getting to it.

Yesterday I started work at the usual time. I left my desk mid-afternoon to head north for a client education program. The highway was closed up there, my alternate route added a lot of unexpected drive time. The program was wonderful: more participants than expected and a fantastic speaker. After evaluations and post-program chats, I walked out of the building at 8:30 pm. This building is in Traverse City, and my little house with my little family in it is a little over 2 hours away. When the expressway is open.

I was tired, and had worked a long day, and was on a dark two lane highway.

Friends, I do not believe I have shared here the misfortune that the Ford Focus de Sinki has suffered in the past. One night on the way from Warren to West Michigan, a coyote attempted to cross the expressway right in front of me. Another night, on the way from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids, a deer ran into the side of my car. Another night, in Grand Rapids at a red light, a car came off of the highway exit at a high speed, and smashed into the front of my car. He backed up, and hit me again before driving off.

So, when I saw the bear crossing sign on Michigan highway 115 last night, I was feeling certain that I would be calling my insurance company to let them know that wildlife and I had met again. And have you seen that sign? An adult bear followed by two cubs. It's a warning and a guilt trip all in one; watch for bears or have the soul of a bear cub on your shoulders forever.

I was so tired. And white knuckling the steering wheel. 5 miles, the sign warned. This one sign bracketed by several deer crossing warnings. Every tar mark up the road was surely a bear in my tired mind. Every sign on 2 posts was a deer. I was just coming from a seminar on managing stress in your life. Irony.

I decided that I would do the best that I could, and not worry about what was outside of the realm of my high beams. I literally shouted, "BEARS! Lie down and don't move!" I relaxed and decided that I would have faith that everything was going to work out for the bears, the Focus and I, that I could not really control the situation, that I should enjoy the quiet time in the car, and the power to put whatever music I like on the stereo.

I got home at 11 in one piece. Oops, I forgot: BEARS! Carry on...


Keri said...

Oh, my. Sounds like you've had a stressfull couple of days.

Coincidentally, my family was just telling bear stories while we were up north visiting over the weekend. Moral of the story: be mindful of bears when blackberry picking in NE Michigan. Bears like blackberries too.

heather g h said...

Oh dear, I am so very glad to read that the Ford Focus did not meet a bear and her cubs that night. The Focus has been through alot. Traverse City though- ahhh nice place!