How Do You Thank an Angel (11.05.11)

I think angels have shown up in my life, but I’ve never seen one.  I haven’t noticed them for the subtle support they may have given me from time to time, but in a few potentially life-altering situations, I’m pretty sure one flitted in and out of my life.  The last time was during a recent car trip when I was returning to Calgary from Regina.

I was committed to stay in Regina through the day until about five o’clock for a meeting, but thought I would venture as far as Swift Current that evening in order to break up the long trip back to Calgary.  After an espresso at my favourite coffee shop on Albert Street South, I started my trip west.  The spring sky was a wonder of blue expanse broken with billowing clouds.  As the sun set the sky coloured to pinks, then gold, then red, and then to pink again as darkness set in.

When I reached Swift Current, I felt so good that I decided to keep on going, perhaps to Medicine Hat.  I headed west into the fading light.  There were few vehicles on the highway.  Most were trucks on long, overnight hauls.

The highway was a four-lane, divided road with roughly three hundred metres between the two sides.  All the drivers on the road at that time were behaving courteously and dimming lights as an oncoming vehicle’s lights came into view.

I was motoring along at about one hundred kilometres per hour, relaxed and happy in the darkness of the prairies, when an oncoming vehicle appeared over a rise in front of me on the other side of the divider.  We both dimmed our headlights.  Suddenly, the other driver gave a quick high beam flash, high then back to low.  The next few seconds were decisive.

My first response to the flash was that it was a warning of a speed trap ahead.  I immediately touched the brakes and started to slow, but then thought, “Wait a minute, I’m in cruise control and I’m not speeding.”  My speed had decreased to about eighty-five when I took my foot off the brake and moved to accelerate again.  Then I had a second thought, “Maybe there is something else he is trying to warn me about, like an accident up ahead.”  I put my foot on the brake again, slowing the car, and checked in my rear view mirror to see if anyone was closing up from behind.  Nothing.  

I still had my low beam on when the herd of deer came running up out of the grassed divider.  I put on my high beam and started braking, but not too hard as four deer ran across the highway and into the other ditch.  Then my rules from motorcycling kicked in and I said to myself, watch out for the stragglers.  Sure enough, three more deer came running up onto the road, following the first bunch.  I slammed on the brakes and all the contents on the seats of the car crashed to the floor.   Thankfully there were no more deer to run up on the road and into the side of my car.  I waited a few seconds, checking my rear view mirror for closing traffic from behind, and then started off again thankful that I had avoided a disaster in the middle of nowhere on that prairie highway.

I stopped further up the road to allow myself a chance to think about what had just happened and get my head in the right place to carry on.  That is when I realised that an angel had touched my life again.  What a coincidence to come to that place on the highway when deer were crossing and when an aware motorist was approaching in the other direction.  Clearly, he had seen the deer crossing ahead of him on his side and had the presence of mind to do something to warn me.  The flashing high beam was perfect.  If he hadn’t been there and given me his warning gesture, I would have ploughed into that small herd of deer at over one hundred.  I can only imagine what the consequences might have been.  At that moment I wanted to turn around,  chase down that driver, and thank him or her for what they did. 

I set off to continue on my journey.  I was now so wired there was to be no sleep for sometime, so I carried on through the night to Calgary.  I couldn’t help think that my angel was with me for the rest of the trip.  I took the time to thank him.