If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you know that my husband, daughter, and I live on the Navajo reservation. It takes at least 2 and half hours to get to town, and since part of that is over a horribly bumpy, dirt road (and the kid gets car sick), we don't go as often as I would like. Yesterday, however, little Emma and I wanted to get out of the house and run some errands. Soo... we got up early, prepared for a long day away from home, and headed out.
I don't mind driving on the dirt road when it's dry and the sun is shining. It's actually quite therapeutic in a weird way. Yes, the incessant shaking of the car, loud sounds as the tires climb through the holes and bumps, and seemingly unending length of the road are enough to drive one absolutely crazy. However, there is a peacefulness to be found in the landscape and solitude. I was actually enjoying the time away. Emma was asleep, and I was finally able to escape into my favorite tunes.
There we were, about halfway through the dirt as I saw cows in the distance. I slowed, as I have a hundred times before, to let them finish crossing, but this time was different. I noticed the rather large, intimidating bull at the rear of the group had stopped walking. He was looking intently at my Trailblazer. I thought it was weird but slowed to almost a stop and planned to wait him out. Then, I noticed he wasn't looking at my car after all. He was looking at me. We made eye contact. Once I realized we were staring at each other, I saw that he was angry. As I began to process that he was preparing to CHARGE AT MY CAR, a million things flooded threw my mind....
... My baby was in her car seat behind me. If he charged, he would undoubtedly hurt me, but maybe she would be ok??? But what if he killed me? What if he hurt me so badly that I couldn't tend to her? We would have been stuck out there in the middle of nowhere....
In the split second that the ginormous bull jumped at us (literally), I slammed on the gas pedal. I didn't know what to do. If it were to come down to a fight between the bull and me, he would have won. Thank God, the unexpected lurching of the car frightened him. He jumped backward and ran right into another cow. I didn't see anything after that. We were gone.
My heart was pounding, I could hardly catch my breath, and I did what I always do when I'm terrified. I called my mom. :-) The whole situation got me thinking about our instinct to protect our children and families. If the bull had charged me and Emma hadn't been in the car, I might have frozen in panic. I might not have acted quickly enough. Because I had to protect her, I managed to do something. I protected my daughter just as I'm sure the bull was attempting to protect his family.
Needless to say, we had an eventful morning. The day was productive and enjoyable, but I encountered another one of those "protective instinct" things on the way home. Once again, we were traveling down the dirt road, but this time it was in pitch black darkness. Obviously, there are no lights. The dirt was so dry that the dust being kicked up by cars blurred my vision. I'm used to this. I've driven in it before. I can still usually spot the animals by the glare of my headlights in their eyes. I was a little tense as I drove but not worried. We were almost home when I sped up to pass a very slow car. The dust from our 2 cars and the truck far ahead was pretty thick, but it was manageable. I thought. Apparently, it wasn't manageable for the drunk guy stumbling toward me. Did I mention it was PITCH BLACK OUTSIDE??! What the hell was he doing? Why on earth would he be walking into traffic with his head down?? How did he expect me to see him? Sooo... yea. I almost killed a guy.
I swerved, but my daughter was in the car. If I had swerved any more, we would have gone off the road and possibly crashed. Sorry, buddy. If I have to choose between crashing with my daughter in the car and running you over, I'm definitely choosing the second option.
I missed him by maybe 2". Again, it made me think about the things we do to protect our kids. I was seriously more OK with hitting that man than trying to avoid it at even the slightest risk of my daughter being hurt.
It was definitely an interesting day.... Maybe I should stay away from the dirt road for a while.