Posted February 12, 2017 by Kerry McFall
There is a fabulous old sailing ship moored on Harbor Drive in San Diego. I spent a long time sketching the rigging and sails and tackle and I don’t-know-what-all, trying to unravel where this or that rope connected, until I came up with a reasonable facsimile and decided enough was enough. Such complexity! I tried to imagine what travel would have been like on that ship, sliding into the bay after tossing at sea for days. But making the drawing served the purpose of calming my jangled nerves as we wrapped up our visit and prepared to come home. That was January.
Traveling by train week before last gave me another opportunity to calm down. There were no television screens reminding me of how tenuous the world has become, no wifi (except the occasional 1-minute blip) so no emails, no text messages, no calls. I could see rabbit tracks in the snow for a few hours as the Coast Starlight climbed up and around Shasta and past Odell Lake. So many invisible rabbits! Or maybe just a few very busy rabbits leaving all those tracks… I thought about drawing, but even at train speeds, the scenery went by too fast. So began February.
I was glad to be home, even though I missed the sunny mornings of southern Cal. But duty called, and I had to get my mother to a medical appointment, so I drove to Eugene. I got her there, I got her back home, and I headed back to Corvallis. Highway 99W seemed far less threatening than the tangle of San Diego freeways … until that one moment when I sensed that the car to my left was turning the hell right. And I was between that car leaning into me at 40+ mph and a traffic island with a huge cement base of a monster metal pole. Reality does odd things at those moments. BAM. She hit my door and front fender. I bounced off the curb of the island, then goosed the gas pedal to speed up and cranked the wheel just enough to avoid the pole, held tight to keep from veering into the flooded ditch, braked, and eventually stopped. Ppssshhhhh. Flat tire? Hydraulic something-or-other? Ugh. Deep breath.
So that’s over with, and I’m okay. She’s okay, too, but I’m betting her insurance rates are going to go way up ! Life can change in a matter of seconds. Just when you think things are complex, you blink, and it’s even more complex. I’m trying to remember to savor those sweet moments when it seems, however briefly, simple. Pet the cat. Count the rabbit tracks. Hold hands.