The Fragility of Life

I had the misfortune to run over a cat on Friday last whilst driving through a small village on the way to the lake.

Well, strictly speaking I suppose, the misfortune was really the cat’s, mine being only minor in comparison.

Suddenly, there it was without warning, a sandy blur racing across the road only a meter or so in front of the car.

I braked hard but to no avail.

There was a sickening sensation as the right front wheel went over something and then it was in my rear-view mirror, throwing itself in the air and leaping around as if charged with electricity.

I stopped the car off the road and went back to check out the poor beast, dreading what I would find.

Mercifully, for both of us, the cat was dead when I got to it, so it can’t have suffered for more than twenty seconds, thirty at the most.
I had had a vision of it being horribly mutilated but clinging on to life and me sitting with it while waiting for a vet to come and finish it off.

We were both spared that.

Fortune in misfortune.

I picked the cat up and put it gently on the pavement, so it wouldn’t get run over by other cars.

“I’m so sorry,” I said aloud, “I’m so sorry.”

I thought that perhaps someone in the village would know whose cat it was, so that the owner wouldn’t wonder for months what had happened or if it was going to walk through the door at some point.

Closure.

Later, I informed the police of the accident.

*********************************************

I learnt to drive in 1979.

In all the time since, I’ve never run over an animal. No humans either, I should add.

I hit a rabbit in Ireland once.

We were driving along a country round and there were rabbits everywhere, like the terrestrial equivalent of Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” One of them suddenly took it into its head to leap under the car from a bank by the road, but fortunately I was driving so slowly that it was only a little dazed and soon hopped off again.

Only recently, I was thinking how grateful I was that I’d been spared.

And then this.

No warning.

Sometimes, I have inner warnings to slow down while going through a forest, for example.

Once, when I had a premonition, several deer glided like grey shadows in the winter light from the forest and across the road, invisible until the last moment.

But I was ready for them.

Not this time.

No premonition.

No warning.

A hedge at a right angle blocked any vision of the cat until it was in the road.

What could the animal have been thinking? To dash across the road with a car so close.

I shall never know.

The film goes round in my my mind.

There’s that split-second when our eyes met just before it disappeared under the car….

***********************************************************

And what lesson can be taken away from something like that?

First and foremost, such an experience underlines the fragility of life.

One minute here, full of health and energy, the next gone.

It makes you think.

It makes you define your priorities, or it should do.

It could happen to any of us.

***********************************************************

And, rather disturbingly, it also makes you realize how much the colour red is present in food.

I wish you a safe week, wherever you may be and wherever you may drive.

Love

Richard

mesunglasses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*