I shouldn’t be alive.
I’ve spent a good deal of time over the years driving on the Island Highway with no major incidents, but my luck ran out on Monday.
I was driving north on the Nanaimo Parkway when the wind coming through my open windows began blowing around the mail and papers that I had laid on the front passenger seat.
I took my eyes off the road for a brief second as I tried to grab some of the mail that was tumbling to the floor and that’s all it took.
When I looked up, it was already too late to stop or steer the car as it careened into the ditch on the side of the highway and then went airborne over the next embankment, which was about 25 feet from top to bottom, and covered in large Douglas fir trees.
With my windshield covered in blackberry bushes that had hopped on for the wild ride in the ditch, I couldn’t see my trajectory down the hill and really couldn’t do anything about it even if my vision wasn’t blocked.
All I remember was that I was expecting a big crunch as I prepared to come up hard against one of those trees, and I felt the Grim Reaper breathing down my neck in those terrifying seconds.
Pieces of my car where being torn off, but the sudden and deadly collision with a tree didn’t happen.
The car finally came to a stop in a bog at the bottom of the hill.
Fearing an explosion, I immediately exited the car and was standing in several feet of bog water before climbing over blackberry bushes to get to the hill.
At the top of the hill was the lady who was behind me on the highway and she was out of her truck and calling 911.
She assumed I was a fatality and was astonished that I walked away from the accident on my own two feet.
Firetrucks and an ambulance were soon on the scene and the paramedics immediately took me into the ambulance where they conducted a thorough physical examination and, other than being in shock and receiving some cuts while working my way through the brambles, they couldn’t find anything major wrong with me.
The firefighters were perplexed that I had gone down the embankment without hitting any trees dead on.
It was apparent from the marks my car left on two of the large trees that were just four or five feet apart that the vehicle, miraculously, went between the two trees at about a 30-degree angle while the car was three feet in the air on one side and about six on the other.
The fire chief said I should buy a lottery ticket and an elderly man passing by pointed to the sky and said someone up there was looking after me.
As regular readers of this column know, my dad passed away about a month ago and my mother added that he was certainly watching over me on Monday.
I’m not a superstitious man, but I have to admit that if I went through simulations of the accident a million times, I bet I couldn’t get the car to go between those two trees at such an angle again.
I figure if there is an afterlife, the only one there right now who would care enough for me to tilt the car to just the right angle to get it through the trees is my father.
So bless you dad; I owe you another one.