I’ll be honest. I’m feeling a little shaky.
Could be the sugar from the two cupcakes I ate (leftovers from our INCREDIBLE open house!) running through my veins. Or maybe it’s leftover adrenaline from witnessing and then getting stuck in a four car collision on the expressway around 4pm this afternoon (everyone walked away – no blood, no broken bones – even the man they pulled out of the rolled over F-150). Could also be that feeling of heavy humanity when miracles are clearly happening to you and around you and there’s no way to explain them except to accept that they’re very real and an important and part of living.
I saw a woman in a scrubs walking toward the accident. I assumed she was a nurse running to help with those in the collision. I only saw the back of her. She was shorter than I. Had shoulder-length blond hair…straightened but it was fuzzy from the heat and humidity. When I asked the others where the nurse went, they looked at me blankly. Said they didn’t see her. Was she an angel?
As we all (those who were in the collision and those who were caught in the tail end and stopped to help) stood (miraculously) together in the stifling heat, we shook hands and introduced ourselves (I forgot their names as they spoke them. But I can tell you there was the girl on the way to the gym who had just got her brakes in her car fixed – and now her trunk was smashed in. The girl with the freckles who smelled like vanilla. She was too scared to drive again. And in January she lost some friends in a car accident, she told me. Her boyfriend who had a smoke after quitting for days. He wore a Niagara Falls t-shirt. There was the guy with the goatee and the moccasins who looked like a guy from The OA so much I had to tell myself to stop staring at him. He was on his way to see his girl. There was quiet older man with the dark navy golf shirt. His energy was so serene I kept standing near him. Then the tall fellow with black steel-toed boots who kept biting his fingers and pacing. He helped pull the man in the orange shirt and jeans out of the flipped F-150). We laughed nervously at the unbelievability of it all. Shook our heads at how fast it all happened. And as our skin sizzled under the sun’s burning rays, we all silently were giving thanks that no one was hurt seriously. That cars can be fixed. That there were no little children involved.
And tens of emergency workers buzzed around us like yellow jackets and hornets – taking statements and cleaning up and helping everyone. It was surreal. Scary. And…miraculous.
I think I’m shaky from the relief that nothing was one bit worse than it was. And I realize that the hubby and I need to create some sort of emergency language for our phones…because well…our communication wasn’t great and we both scared each other a lot during it all.
And did you know there is a recording when you call 9-1-1? A recording! And then a break of silence. And then a human gets on the line? I think the shaking I felt when I dialled and heard that recording remains under my skin as confusion and anger and disbelief.
I was having an amazing day before this happened! The young gym girl told me.
There are times when I feel my skin – the body parts that it holds together – on a cellular level. When I smell and taste my alien humanity in the air around me…on my lips. It’s salty. It’s metallic like blood. I don’t always feel scared in these moments. I didn’t feel scared at the collision even though it was a scary situation. I think that was mostly because there was no blood. There were no screams of pain and terror. The sounds of humans hurting can change a person. I didn’t feel scared but rather pulsing with assessment as I watched what was unfolding…and decided how to help…and in what way. Because that is an important choice too. It always is.
I marvel now at the calmness of it all. Even though in the living moments of it we were all feeling many things and calmness was threading us together. I don’t know if I’ll ever see those people again. Or what will happen to them in the aftermath. The insurance claims. The money stuff. The soreness in their muscles once the shock wears off. The stories they’ll tell their loved ones.
I intended to write to you about the celebration we had at Gertrude’s Writing Room this past Sunday. But these other moments seemed more pressing. And I suppose it’s a statement about a different kind of gathering and a different kind of miracles. That is – what happens when people come together for a purpose that is cellular in a different way. That is – gathering for the love of each other. For creativity. For art. For food and laughter. That does something to my skin too. Gives me goose flesh on my knee caps and behind my ears. The sounds of humans loving can change a person too.
And the whole time at the open house celebration I was feeling my humanity too. As lived purpose. As living a dream. As sharing a special, sacred place with others who feel the love too. Or who are curious and courageous to walk in the room and join the gathering.
It’s a lot.
Miracles happen often and can be abrasive and soft at the same time. Thank goodness for the skin that holds us together. Imagine if we thought of it that way too? As the blanket that we each have that holds our insides in human forms?
I was gonna offer links to our fall class and workshop session…but I won’t. I was gonna link to some community events and mention a few other bookish things…but I won’t.
I think I just need to sit in this shaky-ness. In the after-buzz of having witnessed so many miracles in the last 72 hours. In the power of people gathering. In the language that our skin speaks when our brains can barely fathom what our eyes are seeing.
I’m so grateful that everyone in the collision is alive and well enough to walk away…and share a laugh and a handshake. I’m so grateful that the collision of people at the open house was love-motived and love-filled.
Tell the people you love that you love them. Be nice to one another. Believe it miracles.