Hearing the screech of tires, I react quickly. Push foot to the brake and veer to the right of the car in front of me.
I “feel” the impact. The sound of the impact “hits” something inside me. Something not physical, per se, but painful nevertheless. One, two, three cars crashing. All in front of me. Metal against metal. Plastic bumpers caving in, useless against the velocity of cars speeding at 60 miles per hour forced to come to an abrupt stop.
How I avoided a collision, God only knows. I was directly behind the three vehicles in the crash. The woman in the car in front of me, was moving , but sat at the driver’s seat, as the driver whose car she rear-ended, had gotten out and walked back to speak to her. A man in the first car, a small sports car, remained inside with his car abutting the concrete barrier of Interstate Route 76. linking Philadelphia with Valley Forge, PA. He appeared to be okay. All cars were in the passing lane of the two-lane highway.
Wanted to stop and offer help, but “got honked at” by on-coming traffic in the right lane, that slowed, but never stopped. I edged my car past the wreck wondering how I avoided becoming one with them. How the driver behind me stopped before striking me.
Got off the highway, known locally as the Schuylkill Expressway, and went into a part of Philly called Manayunk, a great Native American name that many of small Pennsylvania towns and sections have retained from the original land-owners. Drove in a daze until I got to Roxborough, still within the city limits, and decided to drive to the place some three weeks earlier that I had dropped off “Sombitch” Rooster along with the six chickens he sired. (Two hens, four nearly adult roosters. One was just beginning to crow!) Pulled onto the gravel road. Parked. Hiked up a walking path and whistled.
A white hen cackled and ran across the path some 30 to 40 feet ahead of me, darting into an underbrush and away from my sight. Whistled several more times, but heard nothing from the spot she had disappeared into. But, oh, my heart! They’re okay. If one of ’em is making the rounds at this far edge of the woods, I felt confident the rooster and his merry band of fowl would be doing just fine in the wild. I made the right choice in freeing them, I thought. The rooster was mean, because he had to “be mean” to care for them here.
It was no “accident” that brought me to this spot Sunday. I believe there was an intent, a development by design that led me here. To comfort me through nature. To assure me that all is well with the world despite my doubts and fears. Wish I didn’t have to be shaken so badly earlier to learn such a lesson.
Funny. All day long, I felt as if I was actually in the crash. My body hurt. My back felt like it was kicked, and my neck and shoulders ached. Hurt so much, I’ve made arrangements to seek a therapeutic body massage today, some 48 hours after witnessing the crash.
Having seen the hen, however, I’d say it was well worth it.
Now, all I have to do is tell my son what I did with the seven-member wilderness family of chickens that were once his pets. Don’t worry. I’m going to tell him the truth. This encounter makes it much more easier to break the news.