I didn’t see it happen. I heard it, but didn’t think too much about it.
Sounded like someone driving by scraped the snow bank. Not much different a sound than the cursed plows that seem to go by 24/7 this winter.
We have had a hard cold freeze here at the Rising ranch. Steady below freezing temperatures after feet of snow with an ice, sleet and freezing rain chaser.
The driveway to the road is an orthopedic surgeon’s wet dream. The road itself is what tow truck drivers and body shop workers hope for.
I looked out the window and saw that someone had indeed ventured too close to the snow bank across the road. There were ice chunks in the right of way. I had just about turned away when through the thick branches I glimpsed it. There, deep in the woods, I saw the front end of a car.
I grabbed my coat and boots and ran for the door, shouting at the long-suffering wife.
“Take your cellphone,” she said.
Obediently I went back and grabbed it. I tried to dial 911 and walk at the same time on the ice-covered wooden deck. That’s when I heard it.
There is nothing quite like the wail of a young women in pain and trouble. It raises the hair on the back of your neck.
I skidded back into the house and shouted at the long-suffering wife to call 911. She was already.
I injured my shoulder about 10 years ago. I walk on clean dry surfaces like I am treading on egg shells, living in terror that I will fall and cause my shoulder to bark at me like a rabid dog. You can imagine what walking on the Olympic quality ice on our steep sloping driveway is like.
I made it about half way down the driveway before I could see the car and her.
“Are you OK?” I bellowed.
A pause. Probably only a second. It felt like, cliché alert, an eternity.
“I’m ok,” she wailed, “But my car…” and broke into sobs.
I got to her, somehow, without falling. The snow was well over my knees. The first thing I saw in the debris around the car was an unused disposable diaper, lying in the snow.
I got a sinking feeling.
“Is there anyone else in the car? Is your baby in there?”
She was young, dazed and confused. But she was alone.
There is a god who watches over children, injured shoulders and people who drive too fast on ice covered roads.
The rest was as it always is. Cops arrived. Traffic kept going by too fast. The roll-back hooked up the mini-van and nothing is left but the gouge in the snow and the black shards of a smashed rear-view mirror.
I made a cup of tea and thought about spring.
Two days later I was making my pokey way to work. The roads were slick with about three inches of new torture from the heavens above.
On a straight section of road I watched in horror as an SUV about half a mile in front of me did several lazy 360’s and crashed, passenger-side, into a telephone pole.
It was a good, solid, impact. The car was wrapped around the pole. The front end had somehow gotten mangled.
By the time I got stopped (even at my slow pace I felt a moment of terror when the anti-locks did that shuddering thing) the driver, another young lady, was out of the car and on her cell phone.
I got to her and asked her condition.
She waved me away.
“Is there anyone else in the car?”
She turned her back on me.
I watched the anti-freeze stain the snow. I got back in my car and drove to work.
The day this is published, 2/16/11, is by my reckoning, 32 days till spring. Not soon enough.
Bounce rate, baby. Only YOU can lower it. Please help. Go back to today’s Blog post for 2/16/11