Thursday, June 18, 2009

I almost died today

No, really, I almost did. It's a long story, kinda hard to explain. But I'll try.

I was at a basic chainsaw training class with a few other people, out in the woods practicing our wedge cuts and back cuts and bucking and limbing. One guy was cutting down a tree, and I was kneeling, cutting through a stump about fifteen feet away from him. The guy was supposed to fell the tree in the other direction, only he made a mistake and lost control of the tree, which fell toward me.

I was concentrating on my stump, and barely heard the instructor yell at me to get out of the way. He grabbed my shoulder at about the same time I realized something was wrong, and I sprawled to the side a second before the tree came crashing down in the spot where I had been kneeling.

Actually, it seems a bit unreal now. Like it didn't really happen. I wasn't hurt, no harm was done. The other guy was really, really sorry. So was the instructor. He kept asking me if I was okay, saying he should have been paying more attention. No problem, I said, I'm fine. Let's just move on. A good learning experience.

In my car on the way home, I kept rolling it around in my head. One more second and that tree would have fallen on my hard-hat-covered-head. Hard hats are great for stopping branches from poking you in the scalp. Not so great for stopping your neck from snapping under the falling weight of a five hundred pound log.

Everything is fine, but I can't stop thinking about it. This was important -- this could have been the last day of my life. If I think too much about it, I get freaked out, so I stop short of thinking about my boys without a mom.

Oddly enough, I can't help but think about another time something important happened to me, something scary yet surreal, something blurry and hazy against the sharp day-to-day routine of my life. In the winter of 2005 I had a miscarriage. Just a few days after I knew I was pregnant, I started to bleed heavily, and I knew something was wrong. Just a few days of that secret, happy, crazy head-filled-with-baby-thoughts before things went blurry. A visit to the doctor confirmed it. There was nothing that could be done. There was nothing that I could do.

I felt completely and utterly powerless. All I could do was think about what was happening, wonder at it, stand helpless in the fog that had suddenly enveloped me.

That tree almost falling on me, that was kinda like that as well. Something happened, something important, something I had absolutely no control over. I had a death grip on my own chainsaw, I was concentrating so hard on not killing myself with it. I was doing pretty well at not killing myself with it. But I couldn't control what someone else was doing with their saw.

I guess I just need to remind myself that although the control freak in me likes to keep a hold of the reins, sometimes the horses are just going to run wild and things are going to happen. Heart-breaking, sad things. Heart-pounding, scary things.

Important things.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Wow. That was SCARY! I'm amazed you didn't freak out! I'm a control freak too (I'm sure that comes as some surprise to you, right?!) and that brush with death through no fault of your own wouldda scared the crap out of me...not sure I would have handled it as well as you did. Wow.