An Encounter with a Red Truck (Day 29)

They say that when you’re about to die, your life flashes before your eyes. I disagree. If you have a just a few seconds, I think you can only have two feelings: accept the inevitable or struggle against it.

On a foggy morning, I’m feeling especially peaceful walking through the curvy highway, feeling grateful to be on a pilgrimage. When I hear a vehicle coming around the bend, it’s too late for me to get off the hairpin road with a large boulder on my left. There’s nowhere to go for this forty-feet portion. A big red truck advances towards me at a rapid pace. With all the fog, the truck driver seems completely oblivious to a person walking along the side. I wave my arms to draw attention. Feeling like an ant on the road, I realize that it would take the truck about a second to reach me. I’m not sure where it comes from, but a thought crosses my mind, “If I have to go, this is as good a day as any.”

Luckily for me the driver finally sees me and presses the brakes, screeches the tires, and swerves.  Outside of a giant ball of dust around me and tire marks on the road, there's no other residue. Completely unharmed, I catch my breath, relieved that this was not it. Glad that I’ll see the people I love once again.

As I continue walking on the path (now off the highway), my own surrender only moments ago is surprising. How would I feel if I wasn’t on a pilgrimage, encountering this in my daily life? Feeling like I almost dodged a bullet, I wonder “it really CAN come just like that?” I'm not naive enough to believe that age is the main factor in death, but still having an experience like this brings a deeper understanding of the impermanence of life. I’m grateful to be doing what I love while I have the opportunity.

How would you live differently knowing that the play can end any minute? What keeps you from living your life fully?

From the Camino Journals, May 28th


  1. Anonymous2/03/2011

    What a close encounter -- quite literally inches away! So glad you made it ... and reminded all of us to snap out of the slumber too. :)

    Your episode reminds of the story in Fight Club, where Tyler fakes a robbery at a convenient store. While looking at the cashier's drivers license and cocking the gun to his head, Tyler asks him: "What did you want to be, Raymond K. Hessel?" Raymond: "Veterinarian!" Tyler: "I'm keeping your license. I know where you live. I'm going to check on you. If you aren't back in school and on your way to being a veterinarian in six weeks, you will be dead."

  2. Oh I totally forgot about that scene from, Fight Club. Powerful stuff! Maybe I need to watch it again. Thanks for the reminder.