On Saturday night, September 7th, as I was traveling to Mom’s for the night, I had a (hopefully) random, once in a lifetime experience. I ran into a black cow who was walking across a black road in the black of night. After conferring with a 911 operator, a county deputy, an insurance claims adjuster, and a tow truck operator, I have discovered this is truly a unique and rare event. I hope you will never have such an “opportunity.” Here are just a few thoughts on life I’ve contemplated since that novel moment in time.
First of all, illumination from headlights doesn’t show the whole picture. I was quite alert since I have often seen deer near the road as I travel to Mom’s to spend the night. I have heard many horror stories of collisions with deer and the injury to vehicle and passengers. I didn’t see the cow until the moment of impact – no flash of brown fur or quick movement. A black cow on a black road in the black of night doesn’t allow for much warning even with bright running lights.
Secondly, instinct will only get you so far. In the millisecond of visual contact, I managed to swerve just a bit, enough not to hit him head-on. My reaction perhaps saved me from injury, but it didn’t spare my car. Unfortunately, too, it killed the cow. (That was the hardest part.) My instinctive swerve away from a looming collision didn’t prevent the accident nor the injury to car and beast.
Thirdly, random strangers can be the best. Because I was on my way to Mom’s, I did manage to move forward and find a safe place to land the truck off the road. Dad came to get me and we went directly back to their house. After a phone call to the county and a transfer to a 911 operator, I drove back to my truck to get an accident report. I was surprised to see a county deputy within 20 minutes. She was so kind and expedient when I explained my hurry to get back to Mom and Dad. After she left me, she checked on the animal and contacted the owners. She then circled back to me to give me an update, even though she’d had another call by that time.
We just don’t get any warnings when life is about to go off the tracks. Although we think we can see what’s ahead, looking into the future is about as clear as seeing a black cow on a black road in a black night. Our feeble plans of illumination can go awry in a moment. Our instincts about how to handle life’s curveballs will only get us so far. Thankfully there are angels, both seen and unseen, who surround us on this crazy journey of life. I am grateful.
Be careful out there!