I tried several times this morning to post a photo of the sun shining through the ice on the trees. It is beautiful outside, but very cold still. Staying home is the plan for the day. I usually stay home on Thursdays because it is an art day – I may be stir crazy by Friday.
In 1990 I was driving home to RR in my 4-wheel drive Subaru from my job as a middle school teacher in Questa, NM. It was beginning to snow and the traffic coming down the canyon (lots of Questa folk work in RR) was heavy as usual. Snow was sticking to the road and fairly slick. As I reached the S curves, which climb up to RR, a car coming down the canyon was passing another car and therefore was in my lane. Although there was no panic, I must have turned my wheel and hit the brakes just enough to send my car into a slide. I slid one way, and then I slid the other, and then I went over the edge of the road and down into the trees. I went down the hill headed toward the forest thinking, "this is not good." Apparently my tire hit a rock which spun my car sideways, and I slid into the trees. I came to rest without hitting a thing other than the rock, which spun me sideways. I could not open the passenger’s door due to trees. I could not go forward or backward due to trees, but I did not hit a tree at all. It happened very fast. I got out of the car just as someone stopped on the highway above me and asked if I were okay. I was. I asked them to call Toby, and they did. He arrived quickly since his office was in RR at that time. The ambulance and other rescue vehicles also showed up about that time thinking it was a bad accident. Toby later said he felt very panicked when he saw where I had gone off the road. As he looked over the edge of the road and saw me safe and the car untouched, he was amazed. Jack G, one of the rescuers, climbed down to where I was and said, "Wow Lou, that is the best job of parallel parking I have ever seen."
My car was more damaged by the tow truck pulling the car sideways than by the actual accident. Yet it was not bad and I was very lucky or blessed. The real damage was done to my psyche – that feeling of sliding, of being out of control, not being able to stop it, and the quickness of how it all came down, has stayed with me to this day. Driving in icy conditions absolutely terrifies me. I have driven in bad weather since then (it is difficult to live in NM and not drive in snow and ice), but I don’t like it. NM takes very good care of their roads. I can remember telling tourist who would call and ask about road conditions that if they could get out of Texas or Oklahoma, driving in NM would be easy. Driving in OK in icy conditions is not wise. It so freaks me out that I insist that Toby drive Jesse when the weather is bad. It is the mom in me. It is a fear in me. It is the wisdom in me.