You may consider the photo to your left to be of a charming Autumn day in the woods. In agreement with that assertion, it is indeed an Autumn picture taken this very day. It is also in the woods down from my house. However, there is NOTHING charming about this specific location. I can count the number of times I have almost killed myself on my two hands. In fact my ring finger represents a time where I took the full blunt force trauma of a piece of wood thrown from a table saw right to the chest. In that particular incident I do not know who was more shocked, my Dad who was running the saw or the mental tape measure I put from the impact point on the chest to my head.
Well folks, I can add another finger to the count due to an incident today. Continuing the saga of building our bridge, my brother Dan offered to come over and help out with the project today. To prepare, I needed to purchase the 2x12x10’s and 8’s for the support structure. This equated to 25 of the 10′ boards and 15 of the 8′ treated lumber that needed to be hauled home and then transferred to the job site. The haul home was fine, but the transport to the stream posed a dilemma. The ground was pretty wet from all the rain this past week so driving the loaded truck down the hill was out of the question. The only other option was to haul it down with the ATV and a small 4′ trailer. Do not laugh, I have accomplished a lot of things with that cart. I hitched the cart to the ATV and loaded up 4 2x12x8 boards along with a 4′ 6×6 post. Thinking it might want to bounce out of the cart, I decided to put a bungee cord across the top of the boards at the back. Perfect, now to simply drive down the hill and drop them off at the stream. One minute later I was questioning my strategy… and I mean really questioning my strategy. Halfway down the hill, I looked to my right and there is the cart sliding down the hill perpendicular to the ATV (and the hill). The common sense alarms were in full squeal. I braked the ATV to get control of the situation which caused the ATV to start sliding down the wet leaf covered ground and it too started turning perpendicular to the hill. Crisis mode as I knew the ATV was going to flip if this kept up. Eventually I got it stopped, but the cart was still turned 90 degrees to the ATV which was now facing mostly to the left side. Holding the brake with my left, I transferred my weight to the uphill side so I could dive off if required. So there I was hold the brake and standing on my left foot (upside of ATV). I decided to reach back and pull the wood off the cart to lighten the load, but the stupid bungee was preventing me from accomplishing that. Brian just got himself in a whole lot of oops. All of a sudden, my left foot slips off the running boards and my legs proceed under the ATV and now I am pretty much convinced I am going to die. Somehow my left hand stayed clasped around the break and held my weight even though I have some torn cartilage in it (and let’s just say it is worse now). I took my right arm and grabbed the utility rack on the back and hauled my body from underneath the belly of the ATV. Stepping back on the running boards I took a minute to reflect on how beautiful life is, reflected on the life that flashed before my eyes and took a couple of breadths to take inventory of the situation (and the health of the body parts involved). Somehow the left shoulder held through this allowing me to once again take my right arm and attempt to offload the wood. The bungee was still causing me problems so I simply bundled the adrenaline and ripped the wood through the bungee hooks. It literally straightened the hook flat, but the wood was successfully discarded on the ground. EXTREMELY relieved, I got back on the ATV and gave it enough gas to maneuver back in front of the cart and proceed safely down the hill. This one was close boys and girls and there is absolutely only two things that allowed me survive (from my assessment). One is pure luck and the other is physical strength. I have always felt there was no true substitute for strength in life and found it essential in my martial arts days (all the technique in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t power through your opponent’s attack – this includes the redirection styles – trust me I have studied those as well- or if you can’t deliver enough power to disable your attacker). Along with that, strength can also be the means out of an error in judgment. I’ll definitely remember this the next time I try to talk myself out of my scheduled workout.
That which doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger … and wiser – I found another way to get the lumber down the hill.
Be safe out there!