I grew up traipsing through forests, climbing rocks and hiking around water. I have a great respect for the potential danger and have always been extraordinarily careful.
My recent road trip took me through the incredible beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. I’ll post pictures on my flickr account soon.
On Friday the quiet meandering waterways had transformed into rushing rapids that flowed beyond normal banks and swallowed up islands. It was beautiful. And loud. I was giddy with freedom. In the two weeks on the road, I was on day two of uninterrupted time off and I made what could have been a fatal mistake. I stepped back on a rock to try to get a better camera focus on some moss and didn’t watch my step. I slipped and felt myself hit the rock hard as I skidded towards the rushing river.
People say when you know you might die, your life flashes before your eyes. Mine did; I knew that if I fell in the raging river, I would have difficulty figuring out which direction was up. I knew the rocks would batter my body. I remember exactly what I said to myself, “Damn, I’m going to lose my camera and pictures!”
I felt my feet begin to hit the water and miraculously my body came to a halt. My hip jammed on a rough edge of the rock, I have the giant black bruise to prove it. Neither hand had helped me, one was up in the air holding my camera safely, the other was tightly wrapped around my lens cap. I laughed in relief. Then I carefully dragged my aching body a foot or so up the rock away from the river. I was afraid to stand up in case I slid further. Then I did what any blogger would do… I whipped out my video camera and filmed the river from my still shaking, but grateful, horizontal position.
If I had fallen in…. this area was just downstream from there….
Although only a moment in time, the “could have” shook me up for hours afterwards. It was a stark reminder to live now – a slight misstep can change everything.