Monday, March 9, 2009

A Road Revealed

Many years ago when I was a young man I purchased a motorcycle on the advice of a friend. I had loved the new bike he got and while I couldn't get one quite as big or quite as fast I did buy the same brand.

It was very smooth running though it had a flaw. It was underpowered in the battery charging system and therefore I had to kick-start it to get it going but I kind of liked that because it reminded me of older times when I was very young and used to admire the older boys and men kick-starting their Harley's. I couldn't buy a Harley but I think maybe I thought it sort of reminded me of those days.

One day I was out riding with my friend. He was trying to show me how to ride on a mountain road - I lived near the mountains in those days in California. My friend was very good at it. Even though his bike was big he was athletic and was able to throw his bike around the turns, as he used to say.

I tried to do that but I wasn't very good at it and I came into a turn too fast. Well I don't have to tell you do I. I couldn't make the turn. I slid off into the dirt and it was one of those long slides that seem to happen in slow-motion where the last thoughts you have is - this is it - because I could see at the end of that dirt the cliff just fell off and I didn't know how far.

I thought to myself, "That's it - the end" but suddenly I hit something. I don't know what it was to this day because there was absolutely nothing but slightly sloped ground to the cliff on the pathway where I was sliding and I was flying - airborne.

Up and over and beyond. It seemed like forever and just like they say in books and the movies - my whole life flashed before my eyes in a second or two. It really does happen.

The next thing I knew I hit the ground with a mighty thump. I remember rolling and then there was another bigger thump on my head. Fortunately I had a new helmet which I appreciate to this day. It was a Bell helmet. I don't know if they're still in business but I have to say without any reason to promote them other than my gratitude, it was a great helmet and undoubtedly saved my life.

I came to a stop and started moving my arms and legs around to see if I had arms and legs left and when I was doing that my friend was, at that point, driving back up the canyon looking for me and he saw me doing that and it gave him the chills, he said.

He thought I was having a death rattle but he was quickly relieved and so was I when I stood up. Much to my amazement I didn't have any broken bones and even though I seemed to be okay I knew I wasn't quite alright.

For one thing I was immensely relieved so of course I was cheerful but I was cheerful beyond reason and my friend and I pushed what was left of my bike off to the side and sort of under a tree. It could still stand up but it didn't look too good. We left it there in hopes that it would still be there when I got back whenever that would be and he got me up on the back of his bike and we took off for the hospital.

He didn't want to wait for an ambulance because he figured when he saw me shaking around like that on the ground that the quicker he could get me there the better.

I remember being profoundly cheerful all the way to the hospital :-) I'm sure a mild concussion had something to do with that and when I got to the hospital my friend made a bit of a scene to get me in there and him having a forceful personality though with a certain amount of gentle persuasion did get me in to see the nurse pretty quickly.

The guy scrubbed my arms off. I remember him telling me after peeling what was left of my shirt off - telling me that it was going to hurt and he had to clean off the "road rash" as they call it and it should of hurt but it didn't. He was scrubbing real hard with alcohol and he said, "Doesn't that hurt?" And I said, "Just stings a little bit" and he said, "You probably got a concussion."

The doctor came in later and confirmed concussion. They took a look at me and decided that I was going to be alright, sent me home. I remember I woke up the next day and I guess I must have been kind of out of it the day before because I could definitely feel my arms and it was a whole lot of ouch going on for the next three days or so but after that I started feeling better.

It was right around that time that my life took a turn towards the spiritual. I'm sure many others who've had near death encounters have had that other road revealed to them.

I often wondered if I hadn't had that crash would I have gone on to do what I had thought I would do then. I was thinking before that time maybe I'll do this, maybe I'll do that but it turned out that I felt a increasing interest after that to read spiritual books and one thing led to another and here I am today.

Just thought you might be interested. Goodlife.

Photo is © B. Kim Barnes, used with permission, and can be found at