I’m watching a sunrise through tall Southern pines. It’s making its heavenly climb, and I’m looking right at it, sitting on the hood of my truck.
Last night, I was almost killed. I’m not joking. I was nearly hit head-on by a red truck that was driving in the wrong lane.
It was dark. I was the only one on the road. I saw headlights speeding toward me. And I mean speeding.
I expected the vehicle would get out of my way. It didn’t. I almost swerved for the ditch.
I closed my eyes. I expected a loud sound, followed by pain, maybe the voice of Charlton Heston.
What I heard was a vehicle scream by fast enough to suck the rust off my hitch.
I pulled over. My heart beat hard enough to crack my sternum. And I cried.
It’s funny, what you think about in your final moments.
I thought about the old woman from my childhood church. She was white-haired, and balding. She claimed that on the night my father died, she had a vision. She said she
saw him laughing in heaven.
For years, I was not happy about her unsolicited remarks. I don't know why.
I don't feel that way anymore. I'm glad she told me.
During my brief encounter, I also wondered if I’d wake up to abelone gates. Would I see Granny? My uncles, my aunts? My father?
Or: would I wake up as a baby squirrel, high up in a longleaf pine. A mockingbird, tweeting in a nest. A newborn hound, in someone’s barn. A hungry raccoon, nosing through garbage for loaded diapers.
I thought about my wife.
When we first married, I once told her I didn’t want her to remarry if I died. I joked, saying I wanted her to grieve me as a lonely widow. We’d laugh about that.
But last night, I was sorry I ever joked like…