remaining in the moment

Birdie 1 smallI’m driving home on Highway 12 after an appointment in Santa Rosa. I turn off NPR; they are nattering about slimy politics on this sunny February afternoon. Approaching Sebastopol the highway narrows to three lanes, the center lane for turning only. A fifty mile-an-hour zone.

From the other side, a sedan shears across the highway right at my Prius. I swerve onto the shoulder, but the car slams my driver’s door. Buckling, crunching, folding, my car rolls first on its side, then over onto its roof, and settles to a stop. Glass rains.


I notice that adrenalin hasn’t kicked in. I’m calm, at ease, even. How curious! I’m hanging upside down. A brief thought of fire. I kill the motor, and consider my predicament. Take a moment to assess: wiggle my fingers and toes–they seem to be in working order. Don’t feel cuts or see blood. All my weight is suspended on the seat belt. My neck is bent; I can’t completely straighten because I’m hanging so close to the roof. I don’t really want to drop to the ground anyway. Might injure my neck.

I see a woman leaning down outside the passenger window. I smile and wave. She looks startled to see me respond. “I called 911. Help’s on the way,” she says. “Hang in there.”

Can’t do much else.

Sirens. A police officer gets on his hands and knees and asks permission to break a window so he can talk with me.

“Please,” I say. “I’d like fresh air.”

He smashes it with his billy club, then asks my name. “You okay?  Can you move your hands and feet?” I nod. Other policemen try to wrestle the doors open, but no luck. They talk among themselves, then come back. “Fire department’s on its way. They have the equipment we need. It’ll be a few minutes,” he says. “Hang in there.” This time I chuckle.

I remember my little purse which I wear across my body. It’s nestled under my chin. I retrieve the phone and call my husband.  I’m glad to hear him say “Hello.”

“Sweetie, I’m fine, but I’ve been in a serious car accident. My car rolled, and I’m hanging upside down waiting for the firemen to cut me out.” I tell him approximately where I am.

“Good heavens,” he says. “I’m on my way.”

There’s a lot of pressure from the belt at my hips. I press my feet on the floor above to shift my weight. From time to time, people talk to me. More sirens, and then I hear the fire truck growl to a stop. Male voices. Then, “Excuse me, Miss, but we are going to make a lot of noise.” Why is he excusing himself?

More talking. Then prying, screeching, and the door creaks open. A paramedic looks at me carefully, and instructs how to support myself by pushing hard on my arms, and bending my neck as he releases the seat belt. I curl on the inside of the roof–which is now the floor–unharmed. He encourages me, using his gloved hands to protect mine from the glass that’s everywhere as I crawl out the passenger side. I’m a bit dizzy as I stand. I glance at my watch. I hung upside down for half an hour.

My husband enfolds me in a hug. The paramedic takes my blood pressure. Normal range.

A policeman walks over to me. “Ms. Blaine, I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad day.”

I look at him, surprised. “Officer, all I feel is gratitude. I’m breathing, walking, talking, no blood. This is a very good day.”

12 thoughts on “remaining in the moment

  1. Jeri Anne Hampton

    Hi Amrita,
    Glad you were all right. Your Eugene circle is holding you in prayer anyway, even though you came out well. We love you! Hooray for seatbelts!
    Love, Haqiqa


  2. Arlene Metrick

    What an experience!!!! And it really is amazing about your equanimity in the face of near death…and it sounds like at no time were you afraid…I am so SO grateful that you are alive…how is your body feeling the day after? And I am also amazed that you were able to write about it so soon…
    Much love…and ease in whatever healing is left…Arlene


  3. Dear Amrita: It has been such a long time since we last saw one another, though your “presence” pops into my awareness from time to time. I am grateful that you are so blessed and OK. What an amazing tale. Be well and take good care of yourself.
    Much love, Matthew.


  4. Mark Kaufman

    Amrita, your story reminds me of the Ford Fiesta accident you had long ago when we lived in Marin… came out of that one intact too. Thank goodness you’re fine. Do go get a massage or two to help along the healing…, Spike


  5. Gratitude to the power of Presence and your beautiful surrender to That.
    A graphic demonstration, dearest Amrita, of the way this understanding affects every aspect of our everyday life. I’m glad you are “in one piece” – but had it been worse, that’s where you’d be anyways! xx


  6. Reading your description bring tears of enormous gratitude that you’ve been able to walk away from this horrendous event. I hope you plan to be thoroughly checked out from head to toe. My love and heart are with you dear friend.


  7. Amrita,

    I am grateful to read you were able to remain in the moment under such dramatic, frightening, and shocking circumstances. I’m glad you are okay. I would imagine today is a day to rest and allow recovery and a flowing through. Take care of yourself.



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