Monday, October 31, 2011

18 inches

Even in California, where the seasons are subtle, we have reds and golds and russets enough to turn your head. The dog and I were walking along a forested path, drinking in early autumn, when I heard the flapping of great wings above me. In that split-second of wondering -- sounds too big for a raven, could it be an eagle? There are no eagles here -- a tree limb smashed down onto the ground a foot and a half from where I stood. The dog yipped in surprise and darted away.

I looked up at the treetops. The forest was silent and still. The sound I'd heard was the tree limb plummeting through the canopy. If I were standing 18 inches to the right it would have broken my neck, killing me instantly. But I was standing 18 inches to the left. The dog trotted back, sniffed the limb, barked at it. I called her and continued down the path, heart pounding a little harder, autumn colors a bit brighter, feeling grateful, marveling.


Free Range Mama said...

Nothing like a narrow miss to inspire gratitude.

The Querulous Squirrel said...

How scary. What a good dog, barking at the bad branch. That was very helpful. I don't remember seeing any photos of your brave canine.

polaris said...

Close call !! Your story reminds me of something Russ Rocca (a cyclist who biked across the country) said about his trip. A tree fell out of nowhere just after he has biked down from underneath it!

smartz said...

Brought me chills. And a renewed wonder and appreciation of the power that surrounds us, and how we sometimes take it for granted. Thanks as always for your incredible writing.

Tai said...

Smartz, we do take our safety for granted, don't we?

Thanks, Polaris, I'll look for that story.

QS, the aerodog will make an appearance very soon - she's camera shy.

FR Mama, so true!