Sunday, April 18, 2010

A narrow escape

I’m standing ankle deep in mud in the pouring rain on a deserted gravel country road at dusk, kilometers away from the nearest farm. I’m shivering from the cold because I’m dressed in a t-shirt, flip-flops and thin cotton pants, but also because of the shock of what has just happened. In front of me is the appalling spectacle of our car balancing on two tires at a 45-degree angle on the sandy verge of the road. The only thing between the car and the precipitous drop into the deep gorge below are a few scrubby bushes and small saplings.

Whilst negotiating a steep downhill turn, our car tires slipped on the treacherous wet clay on the road surface and the car careened across the road before coming to a halt in its current position. Climbing out of the car was terrifying because we feared that our shifting weight would send the car plummeting down into the gorge. It was also quite a feat to climb out uphill, over the handbrake and across the drivers seat, with the car at that angle. Fortunately we were both absolutely unharmed and the car only required a wheel balancing and alignment and a bit of panel beating work on the front fender. A miraculous escape indeed!

Despite the drama of this situation, it has turned out to be an incredibly wonderful experience. We have learnt a few important things:

Firstly, ABS brakes can only do so much – zooty city cars are just not suited for life in the forest! We definitely need a 4-wheel drive vehicle if we’re going to be able to drive safely in all weather conditions in our forest hideaway.

Secondly, no person is an island, particularly when living in remote and wilder parts of the world. As city dwellers we have come to anticipate that assistance will not be forthcoming if one finds oneself in a difficult situation and that considerable financial or other incentive is required in order to get out of a pickle. However, it seems that country people are very different from city people. We were overwhelmed by the kind assistance and support with which we were showered in the forest. A neighbour came to fetch us in his 4-wheel drive vehicle. He personally phoned around to find us the cheapest rescue service (after ascertaining that it would be impossible to tow us out himself), even going so far as to telephonically enlist his son’s assistance to find us the best deal. He sat chatting to us in his vehicle for over 45 minutes until the rescue truck arrived and then stayed with his vehicle’s lights flashing so as to warn oncoming traffic of the rescue underway. Then, when we discovered that our car could still drive, he took us back to his place to stay in his guest cottage overnight. I have never appreciated a warm shower, a hot meal and a soft, warm bed as much as I did that night!

The third thing I learnt is that moments of physical danger and heightened adrenaline result in unsurpassed clarity about one’s priorities. Whilst standing on that lonely country road, a strange sense of calm descended upon me and I realized that, despite the current difficulties, I was EXACTLY where I wanted to be and doing EXACTLY what I wanted to be doing! In addition, I had created this experience to show myself EXACTLY that! All the petty and irritating little details and uncertainties of the past few days dealing with agents, builders and architects just seemed to melt away into insignificance and I knew again with absolute certainty that following my heart to the forest is the right thing for me to do. The details will all work out in the end; the important thing is to get myself to my heart’s home.

As an aside, our neighbour told us that the people living in the area had declined the municipal offer of a tar road and that they would in fact sign a petition against the treacherous gravel road being tarred in future. Despite our recent experience, I’m pretty sure I would sign that petition as well! The place is special and unspoiled exactly because it is so remote and inaccessible and it should be preserved just as it is.

Only one more month to go and we will be moving to Paradise.

And so the journey continues…

Next: Pause for thought


Mathew said...

Hi Lisa,

At Zingdad's suggestion, I came over and read up on your adventures. How wonderful! What a terrific writer you are (and, as well, I very much relate to your journey). Needless to say, I look forward to the continuing story.

Best Regards,


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mathew! I'm really pleased you're enjoying my blog.

Love, Lisa

Educo said...

I'm glad no-one was harmed.

Jenny said...

Hi Lisa,

I am currently reading Zingdad's Ascension Papers and his blog, which have led me to your blog also. Thank you for sharing your side of the journey that the two of you are on, I am really enjoying the read.

Much love,

Jenny xx

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