My 12 year-old soccer player, Kylie, and I were on the two hour return leg of a trip to Cache Valley for a soccer game tonight when we came incredibly close to hitting a moose and changing (ending) our lives forever. We were on the downhill slope of infamous Parley’s Summit on the edge of our new home, Park City, Utah, when we had an experience neither of us will likely ever forget.
As we climbed Parley’s in my four door sedan I felt a tightening in my chest, an uneasy feeling that I don’t recall ever feeling before. I know to be careful on this road especially at night, and many other roads up here where civilization has made it difficult for wildlife to roam free like they once did without concern of hitting oncoming cars. But I literally felt like I could see the aftermath of Kylie and me hitting an animal in the road. I was on high alert and started to feel very uneasy and even scared. There were no cars right around us so I moved into the middle lane thinking that would give me space to maneuver to avoid hitting an animal, which began to feel increasingly inevitable. Sort of like that feeling of riding a roller coaster to the top knowing there will be a terrifying drop in just a few short moments.
I have to tell you that I somehow knew this was going to happen and I felt it so strongly that I just about pulled over. But the voice of logic in my head stopped me and told me not to be ridiculous. I took a breath and tried to relax. Suddenly, ten, maybe fifteen, seconds later in our lane and closer to my sweet daughter’s side of the car appeared a large, very dark moose, slowly walking across the road. It was a like a ghost but I knew we couldn’t drive through it. I instinctively swerved into the left lane, missing it by what feels like inches but was probably a few feet, and then back into the middle lane to avoid running off the road. I don’t know how I missed it except that I have to credit my Maker for helping me be alert enough to be able to react so quickly. Kylie was absolutely freaked out with fear and other than being upset that she was so upset I actually felt at peace. Somehow, for some reason, I was warned of the rapidly approaching danger and with a very small margin of error was able to avoid disaster.
I will spare the dramatic speculation of how this might have ended but suffice it to say that hitting a 7 foot+, 800 pound moose at 70 miles per hour in a 3,000 pound sedan would have at least invariably scarred both of us, including the moose, and likely much worse.
We got home 10 minutes later and hugged my wife and other two kids tightly with tears in our eyes as we told them about the incident.
Me: Road-crossing moose at nighttime and other random events don’t care what our average life expectancy is supposed to be: therefore, remember that EVERY day counts because we simply don’t know when our last will be.
Kylie: I understand what people mean when they say “I saw my life flash before my eyes.” (Better makes sure it’s worth watching.)
Eli (9): “Dad, I am going to go church every week from now on!”
Wendy (my wife): Family is everything.
I feel very grateful for the way things turned out tonight and yet also more accountable to be sure I am making the most of every day I have. Glad both the moose and we have another day to try and get this life thing right!
Drive carefully out there…