A day of wander and wonder, of disaster (other people) and near disaster (me).
Kris, Karen, Linda and I spent a leisurely early morning. Later, Linda took the other two women to the airport and I headed off on my second adventure: the Everglades and the Keys.
Me with Karen, Kris, and Linda.
I noodled my way back to Everglades City (truly a town – around 400 full-time residents) and points south. On my way there I stopped in a national park and went up a few roads not on my map.
At the intersection with the highway (HWY 29) to Everglades City, there’s a visitors’ information center next to a sheriff’s department building, each accessible from both highways (41, a north-south highway that goes primarily E-W, and 29 which goes pretty much N-S), so I pulled in, got a little info, and pulled out onto 29, headed north to a birding area.
Back at the intersection, I stopped for a blinking red light as did both the woman across the highway from me heading south and the person on 41 heading west. The woman across the highway began to cross HWY 41 and BLAM!!!
The cars running along Highway 41 have a blinking yellow light, not a red light, so although the person headed west had indeed stopped – causing me and apparently the woman heading south to feel it was a four-way stop – it was actually only a stop for those heading north and south.
The woman heading south was in the eastbound lane when she got slammed into. She shot a little further forward, stopping when she was right next to me. And then her car tipped sideways onto two wheels – my direction.
My first thought was CRAP! A RENTAL CAR AND I’M GOING TO HAVE TO PAY!!
My second thought was CRAP!!! SHE’S GOING TO LAND ON ME!!!
I froze. But there was nowhere I could go anyway. I was stuck there with her huge Suburban tilted at nearly a 30 degree angle. If it toppled my way, it would land on half my car – the half I sat in.
For a very, very long second or two, the Suburban just balanced on those two wheels. Then, thankfully, the car went back the other direction and landed on all fours.
Traffic immediately moved over and I hightailed it back to the sheriff’s office. No one answered when I pounded on the door, so I dialed 9-1-1. Eventually a uniformed man slugged his way to the door while I was on with the 9-1-1- operator. “Big wreck!” I shouted at him, gesturing toward the intersection. A few minutes later, from the back of the offices came a sheriff’s SUV that shot over to the wreck site.
I gave my name and phone number to the 9-1-1 dispatcher then walked over to the wreck.
The woman who was hit (and whose legal fault the accident was) seemed okay and she said she was fine, but I gave her a long hug and encouraged her to get checked out. I also gave the deputy my name and contact information. Then I got out of the way.
That’s about when all the terror hit me. I climbed shakily into my little, tiny, squishable rental and just sat until I felt I could safely maneuver. I went back to the intersection from 41 east and headed north onto 29, trying to block it all out of my mind.
And I was moderately successful due to the wonderful place I headed.
Deep, deep swampy area. Palms, and mangroves. Bay and holly. Pale, pinkish sea lavender and yellow St. John’s wort. Great blue herons with their six-foot-plus wingspan and great white ones. Egrets both snowy and great. Anhinga and ibis. All soothing to the soul after what could have been for me a serious, serious injury.
It took me three hours of wandering in car and on foot to feel I could head back past that intersection to get to my hotel. But return I did, just as the gray day turned to drizzle and the clay-sand road turned to muck.
I checked in at my motel and immediately headed further south to shoreline and sunset.
Back to my motel for a glass of wine and feelings of fragility. A deep sense of gratefulness that I had been spared. Concerns for those in the accident. I never saw the occupants (I have a vague recollection of two in the front seat) of the car that slammed into the other. Their car was totaled, I’m sure. The woman I met was young. She will heal. But what of the others?
No one from the sheriff’s department ever called me.
I had a restless night’s sleep.
Thank God you’re ok! Great pictures! Please take care. Big hugs!
Yes, it was really, really scary!!
Thanks, Tere! It would be hard for me to make my deliveries to you if I were here in a hospital!
Please take good care of my sister for me…!!!!
Glad you’re okay and that the others seemed to be!
Note: Linda had left with the others. We were all headed different places by then.
They won’t even know about this until they read this blog post!
WOW= what a day! how lucky for everyone that the car didn’t roll over and smash you as well… i dont think one glass of wine would have been enough for me after an experience like that!
i’ve enjoyed your posts but am usually unable to reply.. it’s late here, so the connection is a bit faster…
so glad that you and your life-long friends have had a great time together! i’ve loved the photos!
Thanks! The mini-reunion was such fun. We’ll be doing it again.
Yes, I still see that big Suburban headed towards me and shudder. But the Everglades did its magic. It simply removed me from everything else. I am fortunate I’m okay and fortunate I had such a spot to go to afterwards.
Glad you’re ok Emilie, quite a story, edge of the seat stuff 🙂
Thanks, Mike. Still makes me shake my head in wonder that I was so very, very fortunate.
My stomach is hurting from reading this. Glad your being is in one piece and hope your spirit recovers
Oh my gosh, so glad you’re okay! But those gorgeous swamp photos look like a great reward.
Thank goodness you are ok! It will take time for your mind to heal. Talking to a professional would not be out of line.
Good idea. Thanks.
You had an angel on your shoulder that time! Those events get seared into your brain, part of a survival instinct. Great photos! Love those sunsets.
Yes, my little guardian angel was on high alert!
Thank Goodness you were not in an accident. Were there no signs on that road indicating one direction was supposed to stop and wait for the other cars? Geeze! Anyway, no one was injured and you had a chance for a little mental recovery… Phew!!
Really wonderful photos!
Amazing people came out of it alive. The car on the main highway was going at least 50, maybe 60. It is absolutely frozen in my brain.
Dear Emilie, Wow. Like your other readers, so glad you are ok and hoping that the others are, as well. Wise of you to take in all of the gorgeousness of the Everglades–thank you for sharing the amazing beauty. Here’s hoping you can focus more and more on all of that–but I understand how you feel having been in a similar situation (my car was totaled by the driver who was going too fast, especially for the slippery conditions). Maybe your inner mermaid can help you :). Hugs, hugs….
Thanks so much. I was in a little wreck about a year and a half ago and that was enough. I do’n twang a big one!
Perhaps it was that inner mermaid or my little guardian angel mermaid that protected me!
What a great trip.
Except for the almost accident!
Wow. What a scary experience. Thanks for expressing it all so fully and so well. And, the pictures! Beauty and fragility, all there.
Ann, I still have visions of that BIG SUV tipping, tipping, almost tipping over. I have had numerous odd dreams since then, including a few nightmares that don’t actually have anything to do with an SUV.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
I am not surprised, Emilie, that you still have visions of that. Very scary stuff.
Lovely sunset Emilie, thanks for sharing
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