After a long day of driving over the road, I parked the truck at a truck stop and went for a walk. I was more than a little stressed. A few things were bothering me, but this walk would cure my stress more than I knew. I slowly walked down a small dirt road. I saw a few cows in what looked like a large front yard. I saw what looked like someone camping permanently in an inconspicuous place surrounded by trees downhill from the road. I continued walking until I approached a bridge. On the other side of the bridge, the road split and looked like it went to nowhere so I stopped by the side of the bridge and watched the water pass underneath.
The one side was filled with the noise of the water. It was calming. I could feel the stress subsiding though not dissipating completely yet. I looked up to see a few birds perched on the branches of the trees that towered over the water. I was so ready to get off the road. It was June 28 and my truck lease would be coming up in less than a month. By now, Jenny and I had been working diligently for months to get a loan and a house and I was working to get myself into Steve’s Tanker company. Nothing was certain at this point and there was little I could do to make it certain. The underwriters were going to want me to work at my new job for a month before they would get me the loan, but the loan agent was hoping to work a way around that. A month without a house would cost us twice the cost of a mortgage at least. How were we going to pull this off? As I thought more, I walked to the other side of the bridge to see the view there.
Unlike the other side, it was quiet. The sound of the water was barely noticeable. I didn’t know which side I liked better. I lingered, thought a while, and went back to the other side again. I looked again down the road where the fork was to decide if I wanted to walk further. I didn’t. It was getting dark, so I started back.
As I walked back, slowly and thoughtfully, I noticed something I hadn’t seen my first pass through. There was a little memorial several yards from the road. I walked over for a closer look. Someone had died here. I felt sympathy for the survivors. I wondered who survived and who was the victim. A picture hung on the fence. It was of what looked to be a five year old holding a toddler. Was this picture of ones who died or of those who survived? I went back to the relic and looked closely. There was a toy truck and a small stuffed bear. I couldn’t figure out if the survivors left these things for the one who had died here or if these remained to represent those little ones who might have died. Another mystery had my mind in a quandary. How in the world did someone wreck their car here?! The road was so remote and curved that it was nearly impossible for someone to go fast enough to wreck fatally. I looked down the road one way and the other as I puzzled over the matter. I also noticed a large hole in the fence some distance from the road. The vehicle careened through this fence! How did they ever get up that kind of speed? It must have been some seventy feet from the road! What a mystery! There was a story here and I couldn’t put that story together.
I started back when I noticed a cat in the distance. I started walking toward it to see if I could pet it. I love cats. What a nice final touch to my stress-easing walk it would be to pet a cat. Still a distance away, the cat saw me, but ran away. Usually, cats come to me, so I had fully expected it to come to me. There was a train approaching off in the distance. Surely that’s what scared off the cat. I took out my phone camera as I had several times on this walk. The train rushed pass me with force so dramatic, I could barely hold my ground. I felt like I was going to fall backward. As the juggernaut passed, it took with it what was left of my stress. My mission was accomplished. I could return to my truck and relax. Then it hit me…
“A train!! That’s what did it!” I thought. Now it was perfectly clear how that fatality took place. Someone was passing over the tracks at the wrong time. Perhaps they had their music too loud during the middle of the day and could neither hear it’s deafening sound nor spot it’s blinding light. It had to have happened during the day. The light from the train would have been too obvious at night. The intersection had no automatic gates to come down in front of the road. It didn’t even have any flashing lights. An unsuspecting driver drove down this remote road, crossed these tracks, and was hit with so much force, their vehicle was thrown at least sixty or seventy feet and landed through the other side of the fence. I went back and stood over the small memorial as my life was put back into perspective. I had no problems anymore. No day or week or any time in my life has been as bad as what happened here. I nearly wept for a family I would never meet. A family was ripped apart from this tragedy. Without this little one-foot monument, I would have never known.
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Check out my wife Jenny’s blog at Jenny’s Journey
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